NE Troop Trees and Troop Rebalancing - Updated 1/7/12

soulmata

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THE NEW TROOP TREES: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1rmebMy6lHmzGSmGDDi9QxpWF2DGzm7IZIoKIk2TEFE4/edit?hl=en_US
THE TROOP GUIDELINES: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Bjbm0EUt7nPAAglvVPCPF7FL9gx4hSPzj9CVzENMj1A/edit?hl=en_US
TROOP STATS: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtQHmEa--keBdHRYc2dSYVZaSGY3dWdXOUdaWUNtbkE#gid=8


ThunderClaw and I have spent a lot of time penning out armies, plotting scenarios, researching and otherwise just trying to come up with a balanced, sane plan for the upcoming troop rebalance. We first came up with a list of goals, then a list of guidelines we'd adhere to in achieving those goals. We've come up with the following, and I hope you all find this as a great move going forward. I'll link you to the public google docs we have describing the new balancing schema, as well as the new troop tree, but I'll also provide you with a nutshell here:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
1) Each faction will now be designated either 'Specialist' or 'Generalist' army in one of three respective soldier lines: Infantry, Archers and Cavalry
2) Specialist factions will achieve a higher level in the peasant line for their specialty, but have a lower level cap for their weakness
3) Generalist factions will achieve an average higher level in the peasant line and have a broader choice of Noble soldiers, but have only a single elite unit
4) Noble and Elite soldiers will be successions of their peasant line origins, but will still be only available through city centers/unique buildings.
5) Bandit, Mercenary and Slaver troop lines will have Noble/Elite parallels, but will never reach the level/expertise of Faction soldiers.
6) Troop names have been juggled somewhat, and we've made an attempt to make them a little more historically interesting, if not accurate. Ultimately, though, remember names do not matter, only balance matters!
7) Dark Knights, Bandits, Mercenary and Slaver lines have not yet been finished.

Cliff notes for big changes between NE and this:
* Swadian ranged power has been seriously curbed; but they maintain their battlefield dominance in heavy cav
* Vaegirs cav power has been curbed, but they maintain their absolute dominance in ranged combat
* Nordic cav has been almost eliminated, but their mounted medium/heavy skirmishers will be highly effective on foot and in sieges
* The entire Sarranid line had to be rebuilt; the vanilla troops were just awful. The NE troops were good, but were modeled to fit the new design. Expect Sarranid forces to be very competent now.
* The Khergit line is still 100% mounted, however they also now have a light/medium infantry branch to make them suck less in siege warfare
* Rhodok soldiers are sort of an amalgam of the 3 specialist powers, with the unique advantage of being the only faction with mounted crossbow units



The specialist factions:
Swadia (Heavy Cavalry, weakness Archers, only faction with access to most powerful warhorses/charges)
Vaegirs (Archers, weakness Infantry, only faction with access to most powerful bows)
Nords (Heavy Infantry, weakness Cavalry, only faction with access to most powerful throwing weapons)

The generalist factions:
Sarranid: (Cavalry/Infantry, only faction with both strong cavalry and infantry)
Rhodok: (Infantry/Archers, only faction with expertise in polearms and mounted crossbow soldiers)
Khergit: (Cavalry/Archer, only faction with 100% mounted soldiers)

Each faction will have limited access to faction-specific equipment, though said equipment still falls under our item rebalance guidelines.

I know some people might be shocked or surprised at some of the troop shuffling/renaming, but keep in mind some of this is tongue-in-cheek and our primary focus was, and will always remain, game balance and fun. If you don't like some of the new names, you are absolutely encouraged and welcome to edit the soldiers yourself and name them whatever you please. Though, I will say, I did invest at least some time into giving soldiers historically interesting, if not accurate, names. Without further ado...

THE NEW TROOP TREES: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1rmebMy6lHmzGSmGDDi9QxpWF2DGzm7IZIoKIk2TEFE4/edit?hl=en_US
THE TROOP GUIDELINES: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Bjbm0EUt7nPAAglvVPCPF7FL9gx4hSPzj9CVzENMj1A/edit?hl=en_US

As we continue our work, you'll be able to see our latest changes in these links. If someone wants to make a forum-friendly version of the tree, please do!
 

ThunderClaw

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soulmata said:
6) Troop names have been juggled somewhat, and we've made an attempt to make them a little more historically interesting, if not accurate. Ultimately, though, remember names do not matter, only balance matters!
I want to emphasize this again, guys.  Please do not give us an explanation on how Druzhinas were really very heavy cavalry and the scourge of Eastern Europe and Vikings had nothing to do with horses or anything like that.  We do not care.  Function has to come over form if we're going to make the mod as fun as possible.  Names can always be changed later, after we have everything working the way we want.  If I see people starting junk discussions I will not hesitate to delete posts.
 

Lord Samuel

Sergeant Knight
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soulmata said:
                                                       
* The Khergit line is still 100% mounted, however they also now have a light/medium infantry branch to make them suck less in siege warfare
Seems to contradict:

soulmata said:
         
Khergit: (Cavalry/Archer, only faction with 100% mounted soldiers)

Well, do Khergits have reliable infantry units now?

Anyway, I never thought Khergits sucked in sieges. Sure, once you get on the walls it's pretty much a massacre, but you still have to reach those ladders under their continuous, deadly fire!...

... Oh! It occurs to me now that you might have been refering to their poor performances in Siege Attack:oops:

Well, okay, then.
 

ThunderClaw

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Lord Samuel said:
Well, do Khergits have reliable infantry units now?
To clarify, the 'infantry' line for Khergs will maintain the Khergs's traditional advantage of having everyone mounted, but they will basically only be mounted as a means of transportation.  In the field they are considered mounted so they move faster.  In battle they will spawn on something low-tier, like farmhorses.  So when they're unhorsed they actually become more dangerous, and it allows a canny commander to set up flanking and skirmishing maneuvers more easily (which is what Khergs are largely about, anyway).  It also goes toward siege attack - these infantry guys would definitely have heavier armor and bigger shields than the lancers, which is really your only choice at this point for soaking up damage on the line.  Unsurprisingly, they suck at it.

To expand on how 'becoming more dangerous when unhorsed' is unique, we fully intend to equip cavalry in such a way that their threat profile will go way down if they have their horses shot out from under them.  Low agility combined with very high encumbrance is the order of the day.

We'd like to set up game mechanics that make cavalry more balanced (there are many ideas, but I don't want to talk too much about it lest we get off topic), but those are all going to be fairly complicated.  For now, we're focusing on what the engine gives us.
 

Lord Samuel

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ThunderClaw said:
Lord Samuel said:
Well, do Khergits have reliable infantry units now?
To clarify, the 'infantry' line for Khergs will maintain the Khergs's traditional advantage of having everyone mounted, but they will basically only be mounted as a means of transportation.  In the field they are considered mounted so they move faster.  In battle they will spawn on something low-tier, like farmhorses.  So when they're unhorsed they actually become more dangerous, and it allows a canny commander to set up flanking and skirmishing maneuvers more easily (which is what Khergs are largely about, anyway).  It also goes toward siege attack - these infantry guys would definitely have heavier armor and bigger shields than the lancers, which is really your only choice at this point for soaking up damage on the line.  Unsurprisingly, they suck at it.

To expand on how 'becoming more dangerous when unhorsed' is unique, we fully intend to equip cavalry in such a way that their threat profile will go way down if they have their horses shot out from under them.  Low agility combined with very high encumbrance is the order of the day.

We'd like to set up a trigger that causes people getting unhorsed to take damage, but that's definitely a complicated thing to tackle.  It may not even be possible.  We're not sure yet.  So in the meantime, re-equipping and re-statting Cav so they're useless on foot is what we're relying on.
Okay.

Also, I had a look at your new troop trees. Very exciting! Top work! I l like the huge rationalization effort and also the new indigenous names.
What a thrill when I'll first meet a Nord Merkismathr!

Some remarks:
- Sarranian Veteran Akinci levels up to... Sarranian Veteran Akinci. Is it a typo?

- I think the Rhodok Elite unit should be a Rhodok Elite Arbalestier. Because, IMHO, Rhodoks are the crossbow Nation.

- I kinda liked the name of Tarkhan as the top Noble unit in the Khergit line. Now it's just an intermediate unit, i.e a unit we just wish to upgrade as quickly as possible. Ah, maybe it's just nostalgia, though... And I did get your point on 'balance first'! :smile:

- Isn't it going to be complicated to manage troop types on the battlefield, if some mounted units are marked as Infantry? (It's already the case with the Dark Knights units, with pretty much all units except archers marked as Infantry while they're actually mounted).
 

soulmata

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Lord Samuel said:
Some remarks:
- Sarranian Veteran Akinci levels up to... Sarranian Veteran Akinci. Is it a typo?

- I think the Rhodok Elite unit should be a Rhodok Elite Arbalestier. Because, IMHO, Rhodoks are the crossbow Nation.

- Isn't it going to be complicated to manage troop types on the battlefield, if some mounted units are marked as Infantry? (It's already the case with the Dark Knights units, with pretty much all units except archers marked as Infantry while they're actually mounted).
1) Yeah that's a typo, when I filled the trees out first I cut/pasted everything as the same troop and then filled it in from there

2) That was a toss-up. I felt in the noble line, Rhodoks had some good things going for them; ranged cav and the powerful arbalestier. For their Elite, I wanted to keep that diversity up. It might help to think of the Rhodok "Elite" and the top-tier Rhodok "Noble" to be very similar in level. It's a problem of having 2 noble lines and 1 elite line, and trying to keep diversity there; one line each of infantry, archer and cavalry. I could, however, replace the Noble Archer line for Rhodok to be Noble Infantry, and stick the Noble Arbalestier as the choice for Elite. I'll think about that.

3) The tags in the troop tree don't directly correspond to their assignments on the battlefield. We'll wait to see how they are designated.
 

ThunderClaw

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- Isn't it going to be complicated to manage troop types on the battlefield, if some mounted units are marked as Infantry? (It's already the case with the Dark Knights units, with pretty much all units except archers marked as Infantry while they're actually mounted).
It might require some fiddling on the party screen.  My memory is too fuzzy to remember if we can set the default group in the code.  But since we can change those classifications in Warband I don't think it matters that much, you'd have to change them once per new game.  It'd be annoying, but you can control it.
 

Pellagus

Knight at Arms
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I'm with Lord Samuel on this, Rhodoks have always been about the big ****ing crossbows and the big ****ing shields. Spears for infantry are okay, mounted troops, meh, but the best thing about classic Rhodoks was crossbow mayhem (and the sergeants were serious tank infantry).

I'd hate to lose those elite Arbalestiers.
 

soulmata

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Pellagus said:
I'm with Lord Samuel on this, Rhodoks have always been about the big ******** crossbows and the big ******** shields. Spears for infantry are okay, mounted troops, meh, but the best thing about classic Rhodoks was crossbow mayhem (and the sergeants were serious tank infantry).

I'd hate to lose those elite Arbalestiers.

I thought a bit how to make that work. I've moved the Arbalestier back into the Elite tier and changed the Rhodok noble branch to included Mounted Crossbow and Heavy Infantry at the top end. Take a look.
 

soulmata

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Yeah. The Horseman/Spear Knight will be the continuation of the Scout line for Rhodoks, with the core being a lightweight polearm and a light to medium crossbow.  They won't have shields, I don't expect, and won't be using armored horses (or very lightly armored horses).
 

ThunderClaw

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Horses are technically items so they'll be part of that rebalance.  However, our basic theory is that if we need to make a copy of an item with slightly different stats so it's inch-perfect for what we need on a troop, we'll do that.  There's also a few items we're going to have to make that no player in their right mind would want to wear.  Heavy knights, for example, will probably have plated boots with an encumbrance of 50, 60, or even 70 to make them as slow on the ground as we want them to be.  We're hoping to be able to set bits so those are undroppable, but we'll see.
 

soulmata

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Pellagus said:
Sounds good. Are you going to balance horse stats as well when you do troops?
ThunderClaw's correct in that horses are items and will be subject to the rebalance. What you can expect from that is for horses to move into very distinct roles. Probably not much will change in terms of skill needed or basic stats, but expect to see "Chargers" that are just that, Warhorses are indeed warhorses, skirmish horses like the hunter will be more efficient for their role, etc. And don't expect any horse with leather armor to have more defense than a warhorse. And that premium you pay for the champion lines? It'll be worth it.

 

soulmata

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The new troop trees and troop levels/stats are about 75% complete so far. All 6 primary factions and their troop levels/skills have been finished, so now the work moves on to the Dark Knight, Merc Male, Merc Female, Slaver and Bandit trees... after that, we'll publish a new release specifically for the rebalanced troops.
 

Pellagus

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There's a Native model for a charger which we haven't used yet. It's defintely worth including that for the highest tier Swadians, possibly for lords and the Queen.

The mesh is located in CommonRes/warhorse_new.brf. The mesh name is charger_plate_1 .
 

ThunderClaw

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I have updated the troop tree with our visions for the Bandits.

Right now, the Bandits are one/two classes that are loosely attached to the geographical region they spawn on.  If you recruit bandits for whatever reason, they will upgrade to eachother in this weird, coalescing way that makes no sense at all. 

Soul and I feel this is a missed opportunity.  Instead of generic bandits that basically make certain parts of the world a pain and other parts relatively safe, we intend to give each region its own flavor of bandits and force the spawned bandit parties to incorporate all levels of bandit.  So instead of having parties of one endlessly cloned bandit, you will instead get motley groups of bottom-feeders and near-professional soldiers, making bandit groups a much bigger mess.  By the same token, we don't want to make bandits as powerful as regular armies.  They're more poorly trained, more poorly equipped, and don't exactly have hiring standards, unlike regular armies.

Mechanically, this is how it works:
Each bandit group has 1 branch it does well (which is baseline and ends at level 1:cool:, 1 branch it doesn't do so well (which ends at level 16), and 1 branch it simply doesn't have access to at all.  Everything builds from a different regional Looter, so it weakly mimics the Kingdom roles, while still being distinctly inferior.  I also tried (and mostly succeeded) in making the branch designations work with the given aesthetic.

Brief once-overs on each region's bandit populations:
Swadia: The overwhelming power of the Swadian church is a boon for anyone in the good graces of the clergy, but less so for anyone who has, intentionally or inadvertantly, managed to annoy a man of the cloth.  Swadian outcasts are largely desperately poor men who have had everything taken from them by the church, whether rightfully after a murder or unjustly for an unpopular belief.  These heretics, deviants, and unlucky suckers make ends meet on the backs of others, with the simplest of weapons.
Strong: Archers (the simplest weapon)
Weak: Infantry (Will use mostly boiled leather, shortened sickles, clubs, and other improvised weapons)
Absent: Cavalry (Horses are a privilege to be used by the elite)

Rhodok: The republican Rhodok government keeps the peasantry fairly happy, but the inherent value of a coin in the republic has given rise to large criminal mafias, interested in increasing their political leverage by having the most money, legitimate or not.  Rhodok criminals are are the foot soldiers of these organized networks, waylaying travellers and extorting protection money to please the bosses in the cities.  The mafias dislike direct conflict, and prefer to move fast, collect their silver, and be gone.
Strong: Cavalry (Cash makers and life takers)
Weak: Archers (Crossbows used by mafia hit squads)
Absent: Infantry (Slashers are too messy for Mafia work)

Norse: The Norse religion is deep, complicated, and rich.  This, of course, means that no two Norsemen can really agree on what universal truths are actually true.  The Jarls have done a good job of unifying the nation on the most important tenets of their faith, but splinter cults with radically different, and often disgusting, beliefs still boil up out of the woodwork.  The average Nord criminal is a member of one of these radical cults, which often revolve around barbaric practices like blood drinking, ritual drug use, and human sacrifice.
Strong: Infantry (The cults preach the joy of slaughtering enemies)
Weak: Archers (Wild animal hunters sometimes convert to the cults, and make excellent support)
Absent: Cavalry (Beasts are for killing, not riding)

Vaegir: The Vaegir principality is a federation of diverse cultures and peoples, all working together to ensure their survival and dominance in Calradia.  However, not everyone sees the suffocating power of the federation as a good thing.  Many freedom fighters consider the Vaegir banner an occupation of their ancestral homes.  Combined with the tradition of weapon ownership in Vaegir territories, this creates a powder keg of armed, angry insurgents ready to kill for countries that no longer exist.  The typical Vaegir criminal is one of these rebels, scraping together as many scraps as possible to mount something resembling an effective resistance to the Princes in their homelands.
Strong: Cavalry (Speed is critical to the insurgents, especially in the snow)
Weak: Infantry (Swords can be found in almost every home in Vaegir territories, so any farmhand can get one)
Absent: Archers (Vaegir nobles are keenly aware of the archery tradition in their territories and spend a huge amount of energy to crack down on distribution of bows.  Combined with the scarcity of wood in the tundras, the insurgents typically cannot field archers.)

Khergit: The Khergit tribes are even more fractious than the Vaegirs.  In addition to only being recently unified, the Khergits lack rigid concepts of class or birthright.  Many Khergits fail to see the benefit of this new, overpowering Great Khan leading them all and violently advocate for the destruction of the new order and a return to the freebooting anarchy of the last generation.  The standard Khergit outlaw is one of these anarchists, intent on dismantling the order currently in place in the Khanate.
Strong: Archers (upper tiers will also be mounted)
Weak: Cavalry (horse ownership in the Khanate is as basic as home ownership elsewhere, so anyone with a cause can saddle up and ride for it)
Absent: Infantry (Khergits never walk when they can ride)

Sarranid: The Sarranid religion preaches the virtues of a simple life.  While many Sarranids take this as an instructional lesson, others see it as a central tenet and consider it a sin to have too much wealth.  These hardened desert wanderers see sharing this wealth as critical to the survival of their race, and strongly condemn the Emirs and the Sultan for not sharing more of their fortunes.  These hard-core survivalists take to the desert using all the tools they can muster and plunder one of the Sultanate's denars they can get their hands on, intent on distributing it equally to everyone.  In their group, anyway.
Strong: Infantry (The scarcity of wood in the desert leaves men more often looking to whatever is in their hands)
Weak: Cavalry (Beasts of burden are integral to the survivalist vision, and as such are raised so they might die more often than men)
Absent: Archers (Bowmaking expertise is scarce in areas with so little wood to practice on)


 

soulmata

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I left the bandits up to ThunderClaw while I focus on kingdom troops.

A bit of a progress update: I've finished the troop trees and troop stat/level/skill assignments for all faction troops and the merc lines, and I've additionally finished updating the troops and party templates for Swadia and Vaegir. The last part is trickier because there are often places in code where specific troops are called out aside from party templates that have to be manually searched for/checked.