Perk System Feedback

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Zomble

Recruit
Intro
When I first started Bannerlord, I thought the perk system was a cool idea. However, after playing for a while (with and without mods) I have come to the realisation that the perk system, while a nice concept, I feel it doesn't quite hit the mark of what I think is it's intent. Here, I'll be going over what I think the issues are with the system. The concept of skill specialization is not a new concept within games. I like what I think seems to be the intended approach in Bannerlord. However, I think it doesn't quite hit the mark for a couple of reasons. I'll highlight those reasons below and go into more depth.

1. Some skills are very hard to pass up, or are not useful to take at all. Or their XP gain is too much to be worth taking (or encourages cheesing/exploits).
2. Overly restrictive choices between weapon types through skills creates stagnate playthroughs (encouraging you to restart the game just to play with another weapon).
3. Skills are made too powerful towards the the end point.
4. How you gain XP feels like a farming simulator at times.
5. The way skills are leveled could use with some improvements.
6. The right perks for what you want in a character (or companion) are not very user friendly.
7. The inability to fix any mistakes or re-thoughts of a build leaves the player in a situation where they either play with a build they are not happy with, or start again)
8. A lot of perks are useless for a build you want on a specific character.
9. Inability to properly mod skills/perks is bad for the game.

1. Balance
Obviously some skills are better than others (Not to be confused with individual perks). Smithing for example is a weird skill, where it's overpowered design is (in my opinion) due primarily because of how the economy functions in Bannerlord. Where as Leadership is just a bad skill, while Steward is one that is impossible to pass up (in a normal playthrough). Of course, some skills are overpowered or underpowered specifically due to certain perks within them. Some of my suggestions to fix these are tied to other suggestions below, but as a start;
-Smithing needs an economy fix, and from what I can see, the Economy Tweak mod by heu3becteh seems to do a decent job of addressing that.
-Leadership get it's capstone (end perk) as part of the skill rather than a perk.
-Tactics shouldn't hide it's hidden in-battle features.
-Steward should again get it's capstone (end perk) as part of the skill rather than a perk. And also remove the increased party size from it's base skill. Making it still useful for maintaining larger parties, without directly increasing your party size. There is too much bloat of "stat-power" with the Steward skill, to the point where it's not even really a choice to take or not, you either play optimally or sub-optimally.

2. Combative Choices
One issue I have with Bannerlord is the restrictive nature of using weapons. If you spec into one or two weapon types, that's all you can do without severely nerfing your other abilities. The same could also be said about Riding vs Athletics, but I think it's not as bad, comparatively speaking. I think it's a little silly that if I want to switch between a crossbow and a bow, I've got to either start again, use a mod to increase focus/attributes (which just removes the concept of specializing in other non-combative skills), or not take other skills (such as any melee skill, steward, Smithing, Athletics, etc). I like the idea of specialization, but not when it comes to diversity of the actual combat, I think it's needlessly restrictive that doesn't actually enhance the gameplay.

Suggestion: Merge One-handed, Two-Handed, and Polearm into one skill. Tweak the perks to be more universal. And do the same for Bow, Crossbow, and Throwing (with throwing weapon stats applying to either melee or ranged depending on the mode they are used).

"Oh but then there wont be 3 skills in Vigor and 3 in Control, it will be the end of the world". Would it really matter? Basing a game design on the number of skills, rather than if those skills make sense (and are fun) is one good way to make a poorly designed game that only makes the game worse.

3. Back-Loaded Perks
One of the problems I have with the skills is they are all heavily "back-loaded". Meaning you either invest all your points, or none, there is very little incentive to invest a few points into a skill if you know you're not going to max those points. The end perk is what does this, look at Medicine for example; you go 273 points in, decent skills. 274 points, still decent. 275 points, S-TIER AMAZING SKILL OMGLUL, EASY MODE ACTIVATED. Maybe a bit over the top, but this is part the reason why players are heavily encouraged to cheese XP farm the skills, specifically because of the non-linear power spikes of those skills. I don't think having capstones (end perks) like these are healthy for a fun and rewarding game experience.

Suggestion: I think a lot of these end perks should either be baked into the skill itself from point 1 all the way to point 300+, or they should be omitted from the game entirely. I feel it would also help with inherent power difference between AI and player, though that would just be a symptom of the suggested change.

4. Experience Farming Simulator
As I've touched on this point already. I feel like the game heavily encourages either cheesing skill XP gain, or you play in a way that feels like you're farming the skill rather than playing the game. From level 1 looter farming with a bow, all the way to tier 1 troop spamming to farm medicine. I don't like the way the game encourages this kind of play. I suggested a change that I will list within the section below (as it ties into that issue)

5. Hyper-Specialization
I didn't know what to really name this section, as it's to do with how skills gain XP. As noted above I like the concept of specializing into being a doctor, a scout, or even an artisan. But I also think it's a little bit too intrusive for what the game wants from you. The game doesn't just want you to focus on yourself, but your companions and family members too. I think the way you level other characters and your own player character are too different, one is more grindy that offers enormous power, while the others are passive which doesn't quite get to where you want them. I think tweaking the way attributes and focus work would go a long way to meet somewhere in the middle of that, and also allow skills that are hard to level to passively level.

Attributes:
-Increase the learning limit to x4 (to the same as focus + attribute).
-Attributes do not increase XP gain.
-Additionally, A player should get an attribute point every 2 levels instead of 4.

Focus:
-Does not increase the learning limit of skills. But still provides the "invisible learning limit" for the below change.
-Each point of focus provides passive experience gain up to the Focus's learning limit (not the total learning limit).
-Experience multiplier increased by an additional 1 per focus point (2.25 total) to make up for experience loss of attributes.

Why these changes?
The problem in the current game, both attributes and focus share the same role of how skills are learnt. In this system attributes would determine what set of skills you can learn and up to what point. While Focus will allow you to learn specific skills at a faster rate, allowing you to learn a 0 point focus to the same skill points as a 5 point focus, it would just take vastly longer and without passive experience.
This also allows you to have family members and companions chase certain perks without directly having each one perform those tasks to get those perks from specific skills. Overall I think companions and family members should look after themselves and train their own skills without you babying them the whole way. This would be fine for 1 or 2 members, but building a whole family with useful members is just not very achievable in the current system (unless you want to go insane).

6. Build Confusion
Another think that really bothers me is how perks are scattered across the skills. You'd think; "ah, I'll just have my companion be a governor and they'll get all those related perks", nope. One problem with leveling companions and family members is finding and remembering each perk you want for them. This isn't a huge issue when you're only thinking about your own character. But if the game wants to encourage you to build up a dynasty, then perk selection needs to be addressed.

Suggestion1: Give us drop down menus within the character page to search for perks and highlight those perks. Example; the first drop down menu filter would give you the choice of Any, Personal, Leader, Governor, Captain. The second filter would be a search bar you can type keywords into, highlighting perks with those keywords from the first choice. So if I pick Governor and type in "militia"; all the perks related would highlight. If I typed nothing, then all Governor perks would be highlighted.

Suggestion2: Allow a player to setup pre-built (or partial pre-built) level ups and allow them to assign them either by default (on every new character gained) or to specific characters. Effectively giving the player control of a family member's skills and having them auto-level themselves. Like a mix between the auto-level option and manual.

7. No Retraining
The inability to change perks needs to be addressed. There is nothing more frustrating than having a perk that either doesn't function correctly, or is subject to the iconic "taleworlds maths", and you didn't realise until later, or you simply made a mistake. Additionally, companions having perks you didn't want them to have really doesn't sell the idea of finding a companion, they are already limited in what skills they've invested into. But to also give them unchangeable perks doesn't make you ever want a companion.

Obviously the suggestion here is to allow players to relearn perks, even if each selected perk to retrain would cost additional gold and/or time.

8. Dead levels
When I refer to dead levels, I mean perks in which are completely unusable for a character, or are woefully underpowered/broken. I really don't like playing any game where a progress milestone doesn't do anything for my progress. In Bannerlord, there are too many levels that have either very niche perks (or perks that aren't niche, but you're playing a niche build), or those perks are just underwhelming; 1-3 less charge damage taken for example.

Suggestion:
-Each perk milestone doesn't give you the choice between 2 perks, but rather the choice between all perks in that skill. As suggested, certain overpowered perks should be modified or otherwise removed, for example; perks gaining power over 200-250 skill points, or attribute/focus perks.
-A player chooses two perks at each milestone, the second perk having reduced effect. Once a perk is chosen, it's locked out from choosing again anywhere else.
-Perks only give one bonus where applicable. So for example if you pick a perk that increases your damage, you don't also get the captain portion of that perk, they are now two separate perks.
-Certain early or mid-way milestones allow unrestricted perks with certain rules. For example, a Steward milestone at skill 100 could allow the character to take a Steward perk, or any Governor perk from any other skill.

Why these changes?
So the "downside" to this change is you are no longer forcing a player to take bad perks just so you can say, "hey look it's being used". But I think that is a mistake in design philosophy. Additionally, this would allow the player to not have perceived dead levels on their character. Additionally, the reason for uncoupling perks (captain + personal on 1 perk) and allowing the player to then choose two perks, is to allow the player to take a perk and feel like half of it isn't wasted.

9. Modded Perks
Maybe I am completely wrong here, but from what I can see, perks and skills aren't really modular. For example, there are mods (well made mods too) that increase party size and/or XP to troops based on the Leadership, but within the game the UI isn't changed to indicate that. I also haven't been able to find any mods that change the design of perks in the game. I suspect this means that skills and perks aren't supported to be modded. If that is the case, obviously I'd like to see these things be supported.

Conclusion
I was going to get into specific balancing of perks, and the Smithing skill. But I feel like those would only bog down the message I'm trying to get across with this feedback. As always, the feedback here is from my own personal game experience. Please also ignore any bad grammar I may have missed.
 

YanLight

Recruit
hello i love what your pointed out friend, but if i remind you about the part of restarting the game to make a new play through for a weapon, the game has enabled death option which lets you control your son later on and so, this might solve the problem unless its about being restricted,
tyvm for typing this thread, its good and helpful, best of luck
 
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