[Massive suggestion] Dynamic factions instead of 'no snowballing'.

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epil

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I think this suggestion includes most important features to make this game fun. Right now, in order to avoid snowballing, developers had to make campaign map stagnant. Huge battles don't matter since recovery rate and speed is very high and factions don't exchange fiefs frequently, even if they conquer foreign land, it's getting recaptured. So even in 20 in-game years campaign map mostly stays the same. Devs did it deliberately in order to avoid snowballing but this decision also kills soul and fun of the game.

So I will suggest a system of features which will make campaign map dynamic like Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis campaigns and solve this situation:

1)Big battles must matter and must have important consequences for existing Kingdoms: To achieve this, recovery rate and inflated armies must be reduced. Clans usually have money to recruit soldiers from fiefs whenever it's available. And the problem is: Fiefs have very fast recruitment renewal rate. This must be limited, recruitments must be rarer. This situation obviously will cause snowballing. When one faction wins 2-3 big battles against rival faction, rival faction will lose means to stop invading armies. And that's the point. Now there will be inevitably snowballing but battles will feel important to the player. This situation will be balanced with next suggestions I'm going to make:

2)Organized rebellions: Rebellions in current game are very weak and mostly doomed to fail. It can be even considered 'rebellion' is a pointless feature right now. This suggestion will both make rebellions stronger and help prevent snowballing. Rebellions must be organized and bigger. For example if Sturgia conquers 4 towns from Battania, these town's with common foreign culture must not rebel on their own, a huge rebellion which will organize under the same rebel faction in those 4 towns will rise in the same time. Success of rebellion will be depended on how weak Sturgia is at the time of rebellion and how many towns risen up against Sturgia. If Strugia is overextended too much, more foreign towns will rebel against them and chance of successful rebellion will increase.

This will create NEW FACTIONS out of these rebellions. So instead of 8 stagnant factions trough entire campaign, world map will keep changing and new factions will be introduced frequently to the game. Maybe in 50 in-game years, there will be 16 factions, maybe old factions won't survive and new factions will rule the old kingdoms etc. This will make campaign dynamic and fun to the players.

3)External invasions: External factions which lives outside of Calradia can be introduced to the lore. For example you keep hearing from peasants in taverns and nobles that "Dark Knights", "Nords" or "Khergits" are living outside of Calradia and they're preparing to invade Calradia. These rumors will come true in specially determined dates. For example 'Dark Knights' faction invades the Calradia from southern sea in 25th year of the game. Khergits invade in 40th year of the game from East, Nords invade in 50th year in North seas etc.

This would make late game incredibly interesting. Suddenly, world is against mysterious enemies which you don't know anything about. So even if player manages to conquer most of the map and game starts to feel repetitive and boring, player's rule will be challenged by foreign enemies.

4)"Legitimacy" system: So my suggestions propose unbalanced world which strong rebellions happen and new factions getting introduced frequently. But this could arise the question how player is going to conquer Calradia or avoid big rebellions when player conquered massive land with foreign cultures. To counter this issues, i'm introducing "Legitimacy" parameter. Similar system existed in Warband but function of this feature will be different in Bannerlord. Every ruler will have "Legitimacy" parameter. Some actions will increase or decrease legitimacy, but it must be hard to get legitimacy in order to keep dynamic flow of the world. For example a successful ruling clan will be able to get enough legitimacy in 60-70 game years to control all Calradia without massive rebellions.

In conclusion, if those suggestions gets adopted by developers, campaign world will feel dynamic and fun, most importantly battles (which are the most important aspect of the game) will change history of the Kingdoms. Big battles will cause setbacks for kingdoms and overextension will be punished by big rebellions if ruling clan's legitimacy is not high enough. So world map will be more dynamic, new factions will born out of rebellions and late game will be interesting cuz both invasions and new factions will add content to it. Longer game goes, higher legitimacy will clans get so players will be able to conquer Calradia when they invest enough time in it.

I think this is the way which this game must head into. Current measures against snowballing kills the fun of the game. Because battles feels very unimportant. Wars are exhausting, it doesn't matter how much enemy army you've defeated, new one spawns almost instantly. Factions almost don't exchange land because of that, so 'wars' in general feels pointless.
 
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I love it . Great insight this would help the game a lot. A clan spy base on roguery at could insight tensions between clans would be good our a character that could good and put good word in the ear of king or lord to avoid war. Something out side the battlefield to do.
 
I'm glad someone else thinks this. The snowballing was kind of annoying, but that's mainly because of the lack of variety in fighting the same guys for the rest of the campaign. What we have now is a WW1 scenario where taking one settlement costs thousands of lives and no progress can be made without constant repetition.

However I disagree with some of your suggestions and I think they would make the stagnation problem even worse:

2)Organized rebellions: Rebellions in current game are very weak and mostly doomed to fail. It can be even considered 'rebellion' is a pointless feature right now. This suggestion will both make rebellions stronger and help prevent snowballing.

Rebellions in most games are just there to slow down the player to the AI's level of expansion. They wipe out player progress if you (or the AI) expand too fast. In a game where the primary aim is to take land, this is ridiculous to me. It would be like having stamina in a platformer. If the player wants to expand quickly, they should be allowed to. If your problem is with stagnant campaigns, this is probably the worst way to do it.

3)External invasions: External factions which lives outside of Calradia can be introduced to the lore. For example you keep hearing from peasants in taverns and nobles that "Dark Knights", "Nords" or "Khergits" are living outside of Calradia and they're preparing to invade Calradia. These rumors will come true in specially determined dates. For example 'Dark Knights' faction invades the Calradia from southern sea in 25th year of the game. Khergits invade in 40th year of the game from East, Nords invade in 50th year in North seas etc.

These are kind of cool the first time you see them, but to actually play against this kind of thing is really annoying. Imagine you know these guys are coming, and all you can do is cheesily avoid that part of the map to prevent them getting the jump on you. Imagine you've conquered the whole map but have to wait a few years to grind these guys down when they appear, otherwise you don't feel you've "completed" the campaign.

The only scenario an invading force can be interesting is if they force the mainland factions to unite themselves to fight them off, but you can do that a lot more dynamically by having existing factions be united against if they get top strong, meaning you get a different big enemy every playthrough. Fighting the dark knights at the end of every campaign would just be a chore.


The most effective way to create a feeling of dynamism in a campaign is to have constant change and chaotic interaction that the player can affect. It's like how in the original shogun total war you would occasionally look at the map and have an "oh crap" moment when you realised one big faction was blitzing towards Kyoto, or how in Kenshi you can start a bar fight that can escalate into a civil war.

Snowballing can and should be fun. Back when people were complaining about the snowballing in Bannerlord, it was still pretty slow and relatively easy to reverse if you focussed on taking them out, but I think people just got bored of fighting the same dudes. But countering that by adding more anti-snowballing measures (in a goddamn singleplayer game) is just making the game worse and less dynamic. Currently the only way to get anywhere in the campaign is to execute every single lord and launch a war of total genocide against everyone. And while it's kind of cathartic, it's also extremely boring.
 
I don't consider it a solution but a good suggestion.
I say that I do not consider it a solution because it would not solve the snowball problem but rather legitimize it.
But it's a nice proposition because it makes the faction system dynamic.
Obviously, a "dynamic equilibrium" must be achieved.
If you previously had stagnation, with this proposal (which I appreciate) you risk falling into the opposite case, that is to have many factions that disappear following a single major defeat.

So in general I support this dynamic system and its consequences, but I still consider the problem of snowball unresolved, which is a symptom and not the cause.
The cause of the snowball is the impossibility, for a faction with a small army, to be able to stop the invasion of a large army.

This possibility would be given by a logistics system that requires parties and armies to have freight wagons with food, drinks and ammunition together with the party (the inventory in short) and a supply line that starts from a given city and periodically supplies the party of food and ammunition by sending the wagons with the goods.

If a large army were forced to submit to this realistic consequence, then the small parties could attack the supply line and prevent food and ammunition from reaching the large army.

In this way, a large army must decide how to defend the path crossed by its supply line, which the longer it will be (in the case of an army that forwards far into enemy territory) the more difficult it will be to defend.
Perhaps placing smaller parties along the line or having them patrol the path can cover a greater length of the line, but this reduces the size of the main army.
So any small enemy party could attack the individual parties in defense of the line, or the main one, or go around it all to attack the city / village that provides the supply (provided that it arrives before the enemy army does more damage to the its territory).
The large army could also displace the parties to form an "invasion front" (like a propagating wavefront), which makes it difficult to bypass the large army, but which tends to leave the supply line all the more uncovered when the further you get away from the invasion front and the closer you get to the point of creation of the line.
Once the line is cut, what you have in your inventory is consumed with a speed proportional to the size of the army.
 
1)Big battles must matter and must have important consequences for existing Kingdoms: To achieve this, recovery rate and inflated armies must be reduced. Clans usually have money to recruit soldiers from fiefs whenever it's available. And the problem is: Fiefs have very fast recruitment renewal rate. This must be limited, recruitments must be rarer. This situation obviously will cause snowballing. When one faction wins 2-3 big battles against rival faction, rival faction will lose means to stop invading armies. And that's the point. Now there will be inevitably snowballing but battles will feel important to the player. This situation will be balanced with next suggestions I'm going to make:
I was going to say "you know what else is massive?", but then read this part, which is a good observation. The rest of the suggestions are kind of unrelated and don't solve the problems of giving meaning to (larger) battles or survival of diminished factions.

I suggest two ways to compensate for the removal of anti-snowballing brakes by Taleworlds:
- Losing AI factions should be more willing to sue for peace earlier and then try to maintain that peace, while building defensive alliances as a deterrent.
- A smaller faction losing in a war should adopt a hit and run strategy (i.e. raiding and besieging weak enemy centers) instead of going head to head and losing, forcing the main enemy army to split or withdraw from its offensive. Asymmetric warfare should be possible and effective up to a point.
 

epil

Recruit
Thank you for your opinions.
Rebellions in most games are just there to slow down the player to the AI's level of expansion. They wipe out player progress if you (or the AI) expand too fast. In a game where the primary aim is to take land, this is ridiculous to me. It would be like having stamina in a platformer. If the player wants to expand quickly, they should be allowed to. If your problem is with stagnant campaigns, this is probably the worst way to do it.
This is why "Legitimacy" thingy should be introduced. More legitimacy will lead AI/Player to rule more foreign lands without rebellious population. Although successful rebellions will not be frequent since it needs uprising of more than one city to defeat mentioned kingdom. So player or AI's kingdom must be at a weak stance (maybe getting defeated by other kingdoms) and must be overextended in order not to be able to defeat rebelled faction.

These are kind of cool the first time you see them, but to actually play against this kind of thing is really annoying. Imagine you know these guys are coming, and all you can do is cheesily avoid that part of the map to prevent them getting the jump on you. Imagine you've conquered the whole map but have to wait a few years to grind these guys down when they appear, otherwise you don't feel you've "completed" the campaign.

The only scenario an invading force can be interesting is if they force the mainland factions to unite themselves to fight them off, but you can do that a lot more dynamically by having existing factions be united against if they get top strong, meaning you get a different big enemy every playthrough. Fighting the dark knights at the end of every campaign would just be a chore.
I understand the counter argument. You're right, it really depends how foreign invasions are implemented. If foreign invasions only aim specific territory, they would be predictable and player's would avoid those territories. If invasions act more random after they land certain territory, that would be more reasonable way to implement them.

I don't consider it a solution but a good suggestion.
I say that I do not consider it a solution because it would not solve the snowball problem but rather legitimize it.
But it's a nice proposition because it makes the faction system dynamic.
Obviously, a "dynamic equilibrium" must be achieved.
If you previously had stagnation, with this proposal (which I appreciate) you risk falling into the opposite case, that is to have many factions that disappear following a single major defeat.
I don't think this would lead to factions disappearing from a single major defeat since 1)If we consider a faction has 5k average army overall and major army consists 1k, It would take a faction more than 4-5 major battles to exhaust all manpower. 2)After initial defeats and setbacks there can be peace deal instead of total annihilation, 3)It's not a 1v1, winning faction will probably be at the trouble with fighting with other factions (Other factions should tend to attack overextending faction). 4)Recruitment renewal rate is slowed but it still exists. So losing faction should be able to recruit troops to deal with winning faction if war is getting longer.
 
1)Big battles must matter and must have important consequences for existing Kingdoms: To achieve this, recovery rate and inflated armies must be reduced. Clans usually have money to recruit soldiers from fiefs whenever it's available. And the problem is: Fiefs have very fast recruitment renewal rate. This must be limited, recruitments must be rarer. This situation obviously will cause snowballing. When one faction wins 2-3 big battles against rival faction, rival faction will lose means to stop invading armies. And that's the point. Now there will be inevitably snowballing but battles will feel important to the player. This situation will be balanced with next suggestions I'm going to make:
Good start! In addition AI armies and parties must find means to get away when encountering a superior foe. IE, they must find ways to avoid these giant battles if they see that they will likely loose it. As a player leading a big army and I see an army I likely won't be able to best, then I would disband the army to minimize faction casuallities. AI should do the same.. As is now, they love to loose!
 
This is why "Legitimacy" thingy should be introduced. More legitimacy will lead AI/Player to rule more foreign lands without rebellious population. Although successful rebellions will not be frequent since it needs uprising of more than one city to defeat mentioned kingdom. So player or AI's kingdom must be at a weak stance (maybe getting defeated by other kingdoms) and must be overextended in order not to be able to defeat rebelled faction.

But this is just bandits with extra steps. If there are rebellions after almost every conquest, you are just adding more busywork for the player. It's like how in EU4 you will constantly be killing off rebel stacks that have no chance of winning. I would rather they just deducted manpower and let me play the rest of the game, rather than playing whack-a-mole with brainless enemies every 10 minutes because I had the audacity to expand.

I understand the counter argument. You're right, it really depends how foreign invasions are implemented. If foreign invasions only aim specific territory, they would be predictable and player's would avoid those territories. If invasions act more random after they land certain territory, that would be more reasonable way to implement them.

The annoying thing is that you can't pre-invade the invaders. In a truly dynamic campaign, the invaders wouldn't just materialise out of thin air, they would exist on their own continent that you could go and attack yourself. One thing I really hated in Medieval 2 Total War was how the Mongols would appear at a certain date with their obnoxious doomstacks, and all you could do was wait for them with stacks and forts of your own. It turns a "scary" event into just locking your door and sitting behind it with a shotgun.

In Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion, there was a far better system. The Huns and Vandals would spawn way off in the steppes where most factions had no LOS. If you played as Eastern Rome, they could appear anywhere, at any time, they might not appear at all, they might be pushing half a dozen factions towards you, they might show up with almost no strength left. And best of all, if you got your act together, you could go out there and kill them yourself, or at least slow them down, or interfere with them. It led to one of the most interesting dynamic campaigns CA has ever developed.
However in Attila Total War, they just spawn free doomstacks from off-map whenever you kill one. Everyone hates this system, it never feels good fighting against stuff you know the AI got for free, and that you can't prevent.
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
4)"Legitimacy" system: So my suggestions propose unbalanced world which strong rebellions happen and new factions getting introduced frequently. But this could arise the question how player is going to conquer Calradia or avoid big rebellions when player conquered massive land with foreign cultures. To counter this issues, i'm introducing "Legitimacy" parameter. Similar system existed in Warband but function of this feature will be different in Bannerlord. Every ruler will have "Legitimacy" parameter. Some actions will increase or decrease legitimacy, but it must be hard to get legitimacy in order to keep dynamic flow of the world. For example a successful ruling clan will be able to get enough legitimacy in 60-70 game years to control all Calradia without massive rebellions.
Holy crap, dude. Do you realize how long it takes to get through 60-70 years in BL? That's probably like 150 hours, minimum, unless you do nothing but sit in town at max acceleration or otherwise not-play the game. The cnquest itself, if manpower gets nerfed down hard enough for single battles to matter, probably doesn't even last for 50 hours, meaning most of the campaign will be on a treadmill waiting for Legitimacy to stack.

Hard pass.

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Right now, in order to avoid snowballing, developers had to make campaign map stagnant. Huge battles don't matter since recovery rate and speed is very high and factions don't exchange fiefs frequently, even if they conquer foreign land, it's getting recaptured. So even in 20 in-game years campaign map mostly stays the same. Devs did it deliberately in order to avoid snowballing but this decision also kills soul and fun of the game.
I don't think they've touched the general recovery rate since the start of EA. It was always a few days to get another stack of 4-6 troops per village. Maybe towns generating more notables based on prosperity boosted it a bit but that is new and came after (IIRC) they fixed snowballing.
 
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I don't think this would lead to factions disappearing from a single major defeat since 1)If we consider a faction has 5k average army overall and major army consists 1k, It would take a faction more than 4-5 major battles to exhaust all manpower. 2)After initial defeats and setbacks there can be peace deal instead of total annihilation, 3)It's not a 1v1, winning faction will probably be at the trouble with fighting with other factions (Other factions should tend to attack overextending faction). 4)Recruitment renewal rate is slowed but it still exists. So losing faction should be able to recruit troops to deal with winning faction if war is getting longer.
For large factions what you say is correct, but since the system is dynamic the idea is to allow even small factions to survive.
And if one of the small ones suffers a single defeat or is attacked by multiple factions including 1 large, then it risks disappearing after a great battle.
I repeat: I like the system itself because it opens up greater possibilities (more factions also means the possibility of expanding the system of relations between factions, which at the moment is not present in the game), but it is not enough to resolve (or legitimize) it. snowball because it does not allow small factions (including perhaps ours) to be able to defend themselves against large ones.

I pose the problem of a small newly born faction that sees itself attacked by a large faction.
Does the system allow it to defend itself?
Currently not in play and this suggestion does not answer the question, although it "brings it to the surface in an obvious way" (which is already a good quality in itself).

Your suggestion must be accompanied by a logistics system.
At that point a small faction could defend itself from 1 large faction (or even two if it plays well).
 

epil

Recruit
For large factions what you say is correct, but since the system is dynamic the idea is to allow even small factions to survive.
And if one of the small ones suffers a single defeat or is attacked by multiple factions including 1 large, then it risks disappearing after a great battle.
I repeat: I like the system itself because it opens up greater possibilities (more factions also means the possibility of expanding the system of relations between factions, which at the moment is not present in the game), but it is not enough to resolve (or legitimize) it. snowball because it does not allow small factions (including perhaps ours) to be able to defend themselves against large ones.

I pose the problem of a small newly born faction that sees itself attacked by a large faction.
Does the system allow it to defend itself?
Currently not in play and this suggestion does not answer the question, although it "brings it to the surface in an obvious way" (which is already a good quality in itself).

Your suggestion must be accompanied by a logistics system.
At that point a small faction could defend itself from 1 large faction (or even two if it plays well).
I think small factions should not be given bonuses in order to make them survive. Their survival must depend upon the flow of the game, like in the EU4 or Crusader Kings. In those games, some small states gets destroyed by the big ones and can't survive, but some small states defeat big states when they caught them preoccupied with other struggles etc. So their survival must be depended upon circumstances and campaign dynamics. If kingdoms are dynamic, ie new kingdoms getting formed in the flow of the game, I see no problem if some small kingdoms won't survive some situations. Not every kingdom is meant to survive. But if system would "never" allow small kingdoms to survive and get bigger, then you would be right. But that situation would happen in Bannerlord if there is only 2 kingdoms remaining.
 
i like the suggestion that big battles should mean something and that the snowbal stagnation is not always a good thing.
i would like big rebellions to come from nobles within a big faction. This would mean that relationships, traits and policies are more important.

I do like the idea about an end game invasion, but this must be random as not being able to prepare for it.
another way to spice up the endgame is to have less days per year, so your main character has to be replaces.
Your heir has to make new relationships and this can cause big clans to rebel, possible together with their friends.
 
I think small factions should not be given bonuses in order to make them survive. Their survival must depend upon the flow of the game, like in the EU4 or Crusader Kings. In those games, some small states gets destroyed by the big ones and can't survive, but some small states defeat big states when they caught them preoccupied with other struggles etc. So their survival must be depended upon circumstances and campaign dynamics. If kingdoms are dynamic, ie new kingdoms getting formed in the flow of the game, I see no problem if some small kingdoms won't survive some situations. Not every kingdom is meant to survive. But if system would "never" allow small kingdoms to survive and get bigger, then you would be right. But that situation would happen in Bannerlord if there is only 2 kingdoms remaining.
Sorry but where did you read the word "BONUS"?
I don't give small factions BONUS, I give ALL factions the obligation to have a supply line, like IN REALITY.
And as in reality, small factions, with small armies, have more ease in managing these supply lines, but above all in circumventing large armies that do not control the territory as they advance, and this allows small factions to have greater ease. in attacking the supply lines of these great armies.
And this is a way to make life easier for small factions.
A way that is REALISTIC AND HISTORICAL.
This is not an arbitrary bonus.

Also, put yourself in the shoes of the player who wants to create a small faction and then expand it.
Without a system of logistics and lines of support that gives him alternative levers than going into battle against armies 10 times his own to force them to retreat, he would be doomed.
 
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