Post conquest settlement balancing: Why is it a problem?

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xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
So far, through testing as best as I can cheating as little as I can, i've noticed some very interesting patterns in the game.
Set in stone factors pertaining economy, garrison size, food supplies and resource availability, all settlements are broken either positively or very negatively.

You can check a few videos about those topics, yet nothing compiled, the info is very scattered, the most relevant youtubers who analyzed and talked about it were Flesson and Strat Gaming (love those guys), and I've watched their stuff, look at Strat's tables, than started an analytics by myself because I've noticed there's no obvious pattern of Trade Bound patterns through AI (you must literally test it manually to se what happens, at times you get baffling results, and I've not finished doing it neither, it's a lot of legwork).

So, what's wrong? Well, unbalance between towns, and a hardcore hidden prosperity cap that of which's impossible too surpass (I still haven't got exact numbers for it though)

So what do we have? Well, villages will directly affect how well a town can be - garrison sizes are very bonkers because you can't fill an entire garrison without starving the town or castle which in turn tanks the prosperity and will eventually turn a town into utter trash.

What breaks it are some caps applied indirectly towards some systems. First and foremost, food items are much more limited than what we had in Warband, there are only 9 accepted by the current game rules, while some that should be "food" just as much, are not, like Wine and Oil (arguably none are able to feed someone properly, but both carry important nutritional values). This already breaks some towns because they are unable to produce enough food even for a basic garrison with a basic prosperity progression. Once a town reaches 10k prospertiy, hell breaks loose.

So how does it work? Each bound village will give you +6 +12 or +18 food for your main settlement (be it town or castle) - than the main settlement can produce +15 - than we have the upgrades which can add a bit more (If I'm not worng, level 3 orchards/gardens givens +18 food).
Take in all this info, and that means the best cap for food production is actually 4x 18 + 15 + 18 without a governor - with a governor you can boost the effects which will result into +23.4 instead of base +18 (almost irrelevant) from building bonus - that's the cap we have direct control of.
Than the calc starts to be taken from food items in the town, which the most powerful's grain followed by fish - all others provide very little bonus in comparison.

Taking this into consideration, the best realistic expectation of a town food production's 110.4 total food per day. - than the varying food types will give some silly low numbers, they rarely if ever come in massive quantities, and if they do they'll be almost instantly sold to caravans - so we can expect a range from less than +30 for each, and that's already a stretch, 99% of the time it'll be from +1 to +7 at most.

The issue is, 10k prosperity translates into -250+ food.

So let's take my ortysia test run as an example: It has a whooping total of 8 bound villages - of which 5 are over 1k hearths and 3 of these being bound villages

Ortysia:
  • +110.4 passive food
  • +5 dates
  • +8 grapes
  • +10 fish
  • +4 cheese
  • +113 grain
  • +13 meat
  • +8 butter
  • +4 olives
  • +6 beer (it has a brewery in it - take note)
Than we compare it to consumption:
  • -259.51 (10380 current prosperity)
  • -31 garrison (629 men)
it's making -21.11 food a day - it's totally out of range from the war, and with brooming trade, garrison supposedly supports up to 725 men - but if things are already like this with 629, than 100 more would only ravage the food supplies even more. That means Garrison Sizes are useless because the only way to make a settlement viable is to have minimal garrison with massive militia. To make it actually helpful, the ideal is to have 0 garrison with militia only.

What gives? Well, the cap on village's food production, and the lack of continuous projects to increas food production makes it impossible to keep any town above 11k if it doesn't have 4 bound villages, preferably producing food, with 600+ hearths. Governor infimous +5% production bonus for villages' basically a gimmick, doesn't help enough to keep anything afloat, nor does it buff enough to give any progress on low prosp towns - of course I pick it for optimal results, but it never saved any towns from hitting prosperity cap and than suffering domino effect of self-destruction.

The pseudo-fix for that would be to have all towns have an equal number of bound villages (making all of them viable and balanced to own) yet keeping a cap and having varying degrees of efficiency depending on produce of the bound villages - or keep the hearths pattern without a cap:
  • 200- = +6 food
  • 200-600 = +12 food
  • 600-1000 = +18 food
  • 1000-1600 = +24 food
  • 1600-2200 = +30 food
  • etc...
The other being giving stronger building bonuses + stronger management options where we can call the town trading to actually keep a minimum stock of certain food types making the "available produce" game into something less random and arbitrary. Could be implemented through Governor + subsiding part of the gold necessary for the purchases... Which would be more realistic.

Another would be to make a "town bound" sub-system that allowed castle bound villages to also provide food for a town passively (giving the +6/+12/+18 bonus as if it was bound to the town itself) - but that would only save towns, castles with 2k+ prosperity would still be ravaged and crap.

So under these extensive analytics, the game has zero potential to make for massively long runs without hitting "glitch-like" issues of odd caps and the likes. If you own a settlement and skyrockets it's prosperity, it's bound to be trashed soon or later.

Continuing:
So the unbalance: gold availability for lords is mostly dependable on the same calculations - fief prosperity + fief quantity - yet they are bad at managing their own fiefs, and once they hit the caps, well, we get the self-destruction domino effect from the beginning days of the Early Access.
This makes so that specific towns and castles fare much better than others, why? Well, villages produces make a massive difference, and most towns in the game have 3 bound villages, only 4 have 4 (Jaculan-Sanala-Marunath-Seonon), and that I can remember immediately, 1 castle has a single bound village (making it the ****tiest fief to own for anyone, us or AI at all times) - but I remember someone commenting there was another one like that (like 2 castles with a single village each).

This basically turns the 4 village towns into the Goats of the game, in theory: Marunath, Seonon, Sanala and Jaculan.
Than comes my second layer of analyzis which's, finally, the title of the thread - post conquest trade bound villages

This factor's ever more important now in 1.8 than it was before because of the workshop and economy changes, which basically have the potential to completely break the balance during conquests or border disputes, but will eventually settle for some pretty odd trade bound distributions overtime.
This makes Jaculan into the worst of the 4 village towns, and not a very smart choice at all.

What happens is the following:
Surrounding villages bound to castles, will almost always flip trade bound towns, and often they aren't locked into neither culture nor logical geography, yet it seems I was still unable to find anything above 8 trade bound village stacks after you've managed to take full control of a territorial zone.

In cases like Ortysia, you'll get the 8 - some villages are somewhat distant which makes it less efficient over-time, yet it's the reason why the AI often manages to get the town above 8k prosperity without much issue. It's one of the single towns with 8 bound villages naturally from the start

Than we get the odd ones: Dunglanys' also 8 trade bount, yet it depends upon the conquest of Nevyansk (sturgian castle) and the distance and position of it's village's are further from Dunglanys than they are from Car Banseth, yet that's the default. - This makes Dunglanys prosper much faster than all other Battanian towns, yet it only has 3 bound villages making it cap much earlier too.

Now about the elephants in the room:
both Marunath and Seonon have 4 bound villages, yet Marunath can only have 6 trade bound in total, making it less efficient - while Seonon seems to have a whooping 8 bound villages, when in reality it's 7 - Seordas immediately bounds with Varcheg once you expand, and it's the only wheat producing village that Seonon can have access to. This means it's impossible to define which's worse or better between the two. Both will get the full passive food prod, but only marunath will have villagers actually selling food products to them, this means Seonon will depend on caravan RNG to actually prosper, yet it'll produce wood like water on the other hand...

Finally, this makes Sanala the most OP town in the entire map for late game high prosperity, because it has 4 bound villages, 3 of which make wheat (allowing for mass production of beer, which adds more food) than, 1 fish village producing the second best food bonus produce, and 3 trade bount villages, two of which produce, again, food item as Date Fruits. So, what's interesting about this? Well, all produces coming from Sanala's villages work independently from hidden production from towns (you can see the full explanation and testing in Strat's video: link) which makes it have not 3 food types, but 5 being passively added to it's stocks.

Question is, why was it built like that, and why hasn't TW given any thought to it properly? One would expect at least a handful of such OP towns, not a single one, specially not one being OP due to food while sitting in the desert zone under a desert faction...

Than we have 2 more issues:
  1. Sturgia with a whooping total of 5 out of 7 towns with only 2 bound villages, while the other 2 only have 3 - meanwhile a vastly deserted territory with bad terrain, excessively spread out and with only a "handful" of castles (8 in total, each rocking 2 villages) - it's obvious that the AI will always "lose", considering campaign auto-calc and how the AI operates, they are unable to viably produce enough armies to protect both frontiers, at least 3 of their natural villages will have trouble reaching their trade bound settlements due to bandit spawn distribution and distance, and finally, they start with the lowest prosperity from all factions across the board, translating into a nightmarish economy along with a massive handicap to field armies properly. - this same effect can be observe, through a lesser degree, on any factions and/or clans that own crap settlements outside of Sturgia, but they are carried by other strong settlements most of the time. - the most notirous being Northern Empire which owns one of the best imperial settlements (Epicrotea) but everything else in their terriory's crap, hence why they are often the first imp faction to fall without player input...
  2. An extra layer of hidden meta, which's to basically focus conquest on castles to leech their village's production to feed your town settlements, yet once you expand again and start taking towns, well, your former Town Leech will break and the domino effect will start almost immediately.
Personally I find these observations annoying, because that means even more restrict gameplay choices for a campaign where we are forced, again, into resorting to cheap gamey cheeses and anti-RP meta to make viable campaigns.

This also makes some towns incredibly powerful for specific workshops until the super prosperity ones hit their cap, once that happens, the capped ones will always be much better at it due to how pricing works. So, the strongest Workshop to own early game to mid game is Wool at Balthakand as long as the region remains stable - it'll lose a bit of it's $ power once Khuzaits take Tial, but that's not much of a concern.

Than, Ocs Hall with Wine because it's one of the best prosp starting towns with extremely stable geography (I'm yet to see any faction manage to take any vlandian territory except for Caleus Charas and Usanc - the most I've seen was someone taking sargot and losing it again under 10 minutes.

Ortysia's good for Silver IF western emp manages to stay strong, if they start losing territory (happens often), than it's a bad choice.

Finally, for late game, the GOAT workshop so far in my testing's actually Silversmith in Sanala, as long as they hold Ain Baliq.

All of that's made irrelevant considering the frequency of war declarations because it means you'll mostly own a couple workshops consistently, and their max profit without exploiting Strat's meta is up to 800-900 daily each at very late game with massive prosperity in the town - you'll make more if you simply conquer any of the 4 village towns without the possible hassle or 20k+ investment.

----

Strat's been slowly cracking the game, and giving more in-depth analyzis to it, it's completely unbalanced for both AI and the player, it also has a probably unintentional hardcore bias towards certain playstyles and choices due to meta efficiency/investment reward loops.

The conclusion being that we are in dire need of a total rebalance of all systems so they work together, also, TW should be minding late game effects and progression, the whole "add here subtract there" system for settlements' not only extremely confusing, but it also blocks progression the longer you play. - What would help would be extensive documentation on the math used for all the systems, and a list check of if and how each separate feature was thought out as to how it would interact with other features and systems. I suspect there was never even a faint thought given as to how "caravans" would affect "realm army power", but it does... This current "meta" basically means that it's way more interesting to keep factions coexisting than it is to paint the map, yet it's impossible to do that because AI won't top warring due to having absolutely nothing else to do.
 
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Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
all settlements are broken either positively or very negatively
I haven't read your whole post yet, but I'm going to tell you my gut feeling just based on lot of playing: The settlement's stats are designed by TW to make them very resilient to having rebellions (or other problems) WHEN they are owned by their native faction and very prone to having rebellions or food/prosperity issues when taken by other actions. Because the AI will not pass the + loyalty policies, this never changes and it greatly slows their progress, eventually stopping it.

Ah I see this a food and passive income type of topic. It's too bad about the food, but my best advice is don't put anything very useful in the field into a garrison and don't worry too much. Getting the tier 1 food upgrades is okay, but the other take too long and it's a waste of campaign time to return to turn projects and festival off and on. (well edit in more later).
I've suggested for a long time juts let us build more food sources as owner or ruler and by pass all this garbage, and/or make the towns stop buying food until it fill it's granary, but no luck. Prosperity is useless because it consumes more food, and the only thin fief are good for is storing troops. Now you can have starved and KO'd troops, that not so bad, but if it rebels because of low security and loyalty, you lose them so that's a no no. Prosperity must stay low so the "troop bank" stays open, especially for vassals who won't make efficient choices on where to go to tank up on troops.

"Caravans" "workshop" Smithing" as well as fief management are just "girls on the cover", they exist only so TW can say they're in the game like "Kung-Fu Grip" on an action figure package. They're completely irrelevant in the actual game because everything they provide is obtained more efficiently through battle. 2 birds with 1 stone? Call PETA because Battle in Bannerlord is wiping out entire Avian species with a boulder! You get tunz of money, renown, influence, recruit able prisoners and possibilities to raise relation or even use loot to level troops ALL WHILE MAKING MARTIAL PROGRESS. It's like the training the sword meme but it doesn't even fit, while you were (anything else) he was THE WHOLE MAP.

Early game ,mid game, late game..... it's hard to even describe in Bannerlord because the game stays exactly the same for 90% of it. I say early is 0-rank 1, Mid is rank 1-4, Late is rank 4 an on WHICH SOUNDS ABSURD but I've come to view it this way because once you can be a faction in your own right everything you do should be viewed as such: Form now on every action (campaign time) works toward my own faction owning the entire map. There's no side missions or B game here, it's just painting the map. (MTC maybe)
 
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xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
I haven't read your whole post yet, but I'm going to tell you my gut feeling just based on lot of playing: The settlement's stats are designed by TW to make them very resilient to having rebellions (or other problems) WHEN they are owned by their native faction and very prone to having rebellions or food/prosperity issues when taken by other actions. Because the AI will not pass the + loyalty policies, this never changes and it greatly slows their progress, eventually stopping it.

Ah I see this a food and passive income type of topic. It's too bad about the food, but my best advice is don't put anything very useful in the field into a garrison and don't worry too much. Getting the tier 1 food upgrades is okay, but the other take too long and it's a waste of campaign time to return to turn projects and festival off and on. (well edit in more later).
I've suggested for a long time juts let us build more food sources as owner or ruler and by pass all this garbage, and/or make the towns stop buying food until it fill it's granary, but no luck. Prosperity is useless because it consumes more food, and the only thin fief are good for is storing troops. Now you can have starved and KO'd troops, that not so bad, but if it rebels because of low security and loyalty, you lose them so that's a no no. Prosperity must stay low so the "troop bank" stays open, especially for vassals who won't make efficient choices on where to go to tank up on troops.

"Caravans" "workshop" Smithing" as well as fief management are just "girls on the cover", they exist only so TW can say they're in the game like "Kung-Fu Grip" on an action figure package. They're completely irrelevant in the actual game because everything they provide is obtained more efficiently through battle. 2 birds with 1 stone? Call PETA because Battle in Bannerlord is wiping out entire Avian species with a boulder! You get tunz of money, renown, influence, recruit able prisoners and possibilities to raise relation or even use loot to level troops ALL WHILE MAKING MARTIAL PROGRESS. It's like the training the sword meme but it doesn't even fit, while you were (anything else) he was THE WHOLE MAP.

Early game ,mid game, late game..... it's hard to even describe in Bannerlord because the game stays exactly the same for 90% of it. I say early is 0-rank 1, Mid is rank 1-4, Late is rank 4 an on WHICH SOUNDS ABSURD but I've come to view it this way because once you can be a faction in your own right everything you do should be viewed as such: Form now on every action (campaign time) works toward my own faction owning the entire map. There's no side missions or B game here, it's just painting the map. (MTC maybe)
It's not that hard to separate:
character:
Early = you're still leveling and forging your build
Mid-Game = your build works but hasn't progressed enough to call it complete
Late = Your build's 100% - optimized and exceptionally effective
General state of affairs:
Early = you're a beggar in rags struggling to get mid-tier equipment, gold and renown
Mid-Game = you have steady income, half-arsed gear, some gold (but not enough to equip yourself fully), and your renown's steadily increasing with ease (so ranks 2 to 4 basically)
Mid-Late = you have steady income, fully geared, considerable gold and your renown's above 4
Late game = you rule a kingdom/is one of or the most powerful vassal, fully geared now gearing up companions, A LOT of gold, your renown's above level 5

the issue with this separation's that it's not defined by "chapters" in a sandbox, but rather effectiveness and type of priorities you have. Mid-Late and Late are basically managing kingdom, with the sole difference that income's still somewhat unstable, your companions are not fully flushed out yet and you may have tons of things to do in mid-late whereas late's just management and trying to subvert the bad game's systems in favor of efficiency (fief distribution being the worst to deal with because you either create magical flows of gold and keep buying fiefs to redistribute them with 300 trade - or you have a charm build with immortal charm and spend all of it redistributing fiefs through votes *VERY INEFFICIENT due to how voting's handled*)

most ppl will get to mid-late game and call it a quits. It's really rare to see someone endure into Late game. Post late game's even rarer, and consists on heirs, yet you only have stuff to do at that point if you've intentionally handicapped yourself and slowed down progress in favor of RPing, or if you like roaming a fully painted calradia for no reason.

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as for caravans & workshops & smithing, they currently work solely as tools for early and mid game for compensating the lack of steady income from fiefs. They will help, but they'll be a pain to deal with just as much. While smithing, exclusively, can be exploited to make you into a millionaire very early on, but it's SO BORING....
Fiefs and prosperity's basically the means of turning your settlements into gold-mines. If you deny prosp, you earn very little steady income, if you boost it, a single town can rack you over 25k in profits, PROFITS, not talking about "taxes" isolated. - so it's a valid mechanic, but it has an expiration date, as I've explained in the OP. - through optimal gameplay I've managed to get Ortysia (3 villages only) into racking up 11k in taxes alone, meaning if you add to it the village income + the workshops with increased efficiency from governor, that's well over 30k daily - with micro I've managed to make some villages turn 3k daily for spans of a week. It's insane
 
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Csatádi

Grandmaster Knight
This is not a problem, but a good thing. It would be boring if all towns would have the same possibilities.
What is strange in the development is the reliance on food. History shows the real development was based on industry and trade. But whatever.
 

Totalgarbage

Sergeant
WBWF&SVC
They also changed how villager parties work in 1.8.0 (may have been earlier), by adding "trade-bound" settlements. What this means is that villager parties will go sell their goods in towns owned by the same clan within a certain (quite large) distance and only to towns of the same faction (unless the faction has no town, then they go sell it to the closest one I believe). Before this change, villagers used to go and sell their goods in towns closest to the village, even if they belonged to a different faction. For this reason, there was no point in owning castles other than garrisoning up to 30% cheaper. Now, theoretically (I haven't tried it), you can grow a megacity by playing as a trader, getting to 300 trade and buying a town in the middle of the map and all the castles in the game. Put the castles in irrigation daily production to max out village hearth and therefore production and sell all their garrison. I'm not sure if you need to form a new faction or just owning all the territories without a kingdom works.
 
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xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
This is not a problem, but a good thing. It would be boring if all towns would have the same possibilities.
What is strange in the development is the reliance on food. History shows the real development was based on industry and trade. But whatever.
it narrows and kills RPing, in a sandbox game the correct approach is to provide meaningful choices for different roles... At bare minimum the towns should be balanced as with "tier" systems and all tiers should provide the same level of reward with varying details, considering cultural lock-on, the least would be to make at least one 4 village town for each culture that can contain 8 trade bound villages. The funny part is seeing you praise this, yet having Battania producing every resource available in the game packed into a small region, including grapes in a place the freezes up during winter and stealing the theoretically strong pt from sturgins which would be pelts (which are also "stolen" by vlandia btw).
Now, the killer detail is that Sanala's objectively better than all towns, so it isn't variety, it's simply "meta"

What I'd personally do to balance this? Well, that's extensive, but let's just say provide more control and management depth through the use of trade, caravans, workshops and taxes

They also changed how villager parties work in 1.8.0 (may have been earlier), by adding "trade-bound" settlements. What this means is that villager parties will go sell their goods in towns owned by the same clan within a certain (quite large) distance and only to towns of the same faction (unless the faction has no town, then they go sell it to the closest one I believe). Before this change, villagers used to go and sell their goods in towns closest to the village, even if they belonged to a different faction. For this reason, there was no point in owning castles other than garrisoning up to 30% cheaper. Now, theoretically (I haven't tried it), you can grow a megacity by playing as a trader, getting to 300 trade and buying a town in the middle of the map and all the castles in the game. Put the castles in irrigation daily production to max out village hearth and therefore production and sell all their garrison. I'm not sure if you need to form a new faction or just owning all the territories without a kingdom works.
is that new? it was a staple in Warband, so I hadn't paid any attention to it until now. As is, yes, trade bound villages are a thing, but the assignment to them's off - as I mentioned in the WoT, Dunglanys gets 2 villages as trade bound even though they are closer to Car Banseth, making Dunglanys much superior to all other battanian towns in that regard (I believe it's the only one that gets 8 bound villages - Maru gets 6, Seonon 7, Pen Cannoc I can't recall but it was less than :cool:.
 

Totalgarbage

Sergeant
WBWF&SVC
They can definitely be wonky and some fief assignments are definitely off for villages (maybe TW wanted to have some medieval HRE style bordergore), but what's new is villager parties actively targeting towns of the same clan within a reasonable distance, and a town belonging to the same faction regardless of the distance (not 100% sure of the last part, I need to actually check it). So if I'm correct, if you say, own all the castles & bound villages in Aserai territory + Varnovapol in Sturgia as part of a separate faction, the castle village parties will (maybe as I said, I haven't tested it) travel all the way north to sell their goods.
 

Clsy

Knight
WBWF&S
too long so obviously i didn't read but all i would say is they made it way too complicated, could have go for a more easy and relax approach.
 

Totalgarbage

Sergeant
WBWF&SVC
It's actually very simple: Villagers --->Same clan towns if close enough, nearest faction town if too far. Villagers --->Same faction town always regardless of distance (but I haven't tested it so not sure they travel the continent or not)
 

xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
It's actually very simple: Villagers --->Same clan towns if close enough, nearest faction town if too far. Villagers --->Same faction town always regardless of distance (but I haven't tested it so not sure they travel the continent or not)
no they don't. I've written that WoT specifically because I've been running tests. Prior Trade Bound did happen but it was much more random - the randomness was kept if the village decides it isn't profitable to sell in their bound X town, than they'll go to the next closest one - but they won't travel too far, in theory.

I did once, and ONLY ONCE, saw a villager party from Vlandia all the way down to Baliq something castle in Aserai, not sure if they were chased there or if they were trying to make the stupidiest trade run in history
 

Totalgarbage

Sergeant
WBWF&SVC
My bad then, sorry. As I said, I haven't tested it myself. I did see several villager parties going farther than they normally would to a faction town when a castle was isolated from other settlements of the same faction but didn't run any tests.

Did you by chance try creating a megacity through giving yourself all the castles and a town in the middle of the map as your own faction via console commands? I'm curious about the results
 

xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
My bad then, sorry. As I said, I haven't tested it myself. I did see several villager parties going farther than they normally would to a faction town when a castle was isolated from other settlements of the same faction but didn't run any tests.

Did you by chance try creating a megacity through giving yourself all the castles and a town in the middle of the map as your own faction via console commands? I'm curious about the results
no, all my testing was multi-tasked, so I was playing almost normally.
I could do that though, might give even stronger insights, but it'd help if I knew the cheat for "all sight" like we had in Warband, if it exists.
One thing I can tell you, which I did see, and that's too far away villages will trade bound to the closest town. So owning exclave castles doesn't help at all. But I don't know the exact range where it snaps out.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
It's just out of place a squandered. Someone clearly put a lot of work into this stuff, but it ended up not adjusted in a way that's useful or interactive at all. It seems very out of place along side the campaign AI that is seriously just "do I have enough troops to join army? If no raid, do I have enough troops to raid? If no go to villages, check 1 again, check 2 again..." They do absolutely nothing with the economy or fiefs and are barely effected by it. It takes years for a fief-less faction to actually go broke and break up, so long that you can paint the map and not a single AI clan has left it's original faction.
 

xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
It's just out of place a squandered. Someone clearly put a lot of work into this stuff, but it ended up not adjusted in a way that's useful or interactive at all. It seems very out of place along side the campaign AI that is seriously just "do I have enough troops to join army? If no raid, do I have enough troops to raid? If no go to villages, check 1 again, check 2 again..." They do absolutely nothing with the economy or fiefs and are barely effected by it. It takes years for a fief-less faction to actually go broke and break up, so long that you can paint the map and not a single AI clan has left it's original faction.
the issue's that there are too many weird rules, like the hidden kingdom bank, total clan asset also "hidden" (you have to actually talk to all members, enter barter, and look how much they have available individually, than add that to the clan leader). The Encyclopedia Extender fixes most of that, and it also brings attention to some really glaring details:
AI doesn't buy stuff other than food, they won't use pack animals, nor will they upgrade their personal gear. AI Personal gear will often not be the optimal choice for their pre-made build (focus + attributes distribution) resulting in subpar leveling and sometimes such a bad performance that they'll die in battle rather early in the game.
These 2 issues are easy to solve, but there's a considerable amount of math needed to factor in optimal use - lot's of legwork. That means AI skill levels + focus pts should determine if they switch weapons, and there would need to be a threaded call which indicated to them how or what would be an upgrade for their current equipment. - Overtime they should do it given they have enough dough for it.
The pack animals thing's about calc the amount of food they need and adding a % extra weight so they don't suffer penalties - as such they should also buy pack animals to optimize their movespeed and equate their food supplies needed with optimal weight distribution.

Currently the AI really does nothing other than warring and selecting pretty odd upgrades for their fiefs (like maxing granary when they have negative food income)

to me the kingdom bank's the worse because, even though it's a smart thing, it's not flushed out as a integrative part of any mechanic, and the player has no access to it. Just as we used to criticize Warband years ago for placing arbitrary rules where the AI plays by completely different rules, in BL it remained the same for the most part with very few leveled systems (like influence) despite TW's promise of having a full AI = Player for the mechanics in general. It is, however, fixable, but likely will require a lot more sub-systems to be added into the game (hence why I keep saying this game can only really be fully complete by 2025 or more)

Than the part that makes me angry's how TW has been balancing the game to delay players as much as possible, over-extending phases and micro-management to a point it became a chore to go from early to mid game at all times under almost all circumstances. Either you do Asian level grinding (look Strat Gaming's videos for detailed walk-throughs of how to cheese the game and get your PC at higher leagues much earlier within "in-game" time - it'll take many hours for you to pull it off, but only a few months in-game), or, you are stuck in some minor loopholes for longer than it used to just so you can achieve the "next big thing" - either path translates into a lot of hours and effort with very spaced rewards, while the minor tasks offer absolutely no reward or just scraps.

Than we have the "true-meta" which's controlling economy and playing pure auto-resolve/auto-calc, which can be done times faster than any of the actual "full-experience" options. Making an auto-resolve build and disregarding RPing entirely, all you have to do is spam cav units and murder all lords, you'll accomplish everything you would otherwise, but much faster - the only caveat's that you gonna be the Leader Supreme of a NPC cemetery - I don't see much appeal on that.

The detail about the true-meta and the negative of it is that since TW hasn't flushed characterization of any lords nor any meaningful interactions with them for the player, that means it's somewhat irrelevant if they live or die, they are just numbers, literal bots for your CSGO match.

It seems very out of place along side the campaign AI that is seriously just "do I have enough troops to join army? If no raid, do I have enough troops to raid? If no go to villages, check 1 again, check 2 again..." They do absolutely nothing with the economy or fiefs and are barely effected by it.
Now, in this regard you are wrong, the issue's that it's hard to understand what's going on and how AI is affected by all of the whole prosperity, food, trade, produce, etc...
Prosperity along with Loyalty are extremely OP stats for settlements. Higher prosp or hearths will spawn better troops at a much faster rate - this means the AI is directly affected by it, but it isn't stated - the whole hidden kingdom bank stuff just means that they have access to $ permitting them to last forever without lands (exceptionally silly if you ask me). In turn, what TW had said about this indirectly was that AI would resort to crime if they run out of $ and lands, but that ain't happening at all, instead they've given the AI a fail-safe system and they still do nothing more than sit around and war.
So, by late game, depleting the entire Aserai army (if they were mostly left alone and their strongest towns prospered enough - Sanala, Quyas and Askar in that case) will take 10x longer than having the same scenario against Sturgia. The only way to make Sturgian towns to prosper is to conquer ALL nearby castles to force trade binds with a single town - by doing that I managed to get varcheg up to 9k prosp (never had seen that before), but it also means the moment I conquer the other nearby towns, varcheg will fall on it's face and start losing prosp really fast because it only really has 2 bound villages and 4 trade bound - the remaining nearby ones are divided between Omor and Epicrotea.

The second layer's that AI uses fiefs to keep reserves, and reserves are used by the AI 100% of the time, specially when they are a recently created new party - if the economy's bad they can't keep a decent garrison, meaning lower quality reserves, or even lack of reserves to tap into.

The good news is that the same system's applied for our own secondary parties, and that's why having high tier troops garrisoned come in handy - the issue is having a fief capable of doing so without breaking into shambles while still generating income.

----

This is where all of this info comes in handy.

If you center your "empire" on Sanala, keep Marunath Jaculan and Seonon, you can remotely manage all your clan AI parties (if with optimal build, that would be 4 parties) to spawn strong from the get go at all times - you send the future leader to the town (one for each) and keep the reserves in those 4 because of the high food production - this means they can spawn with almost full t6 troops parties. - the wonky part's actually replenishing said reserves in vanilla due to bad management UI and systems.

Using mods, it's possible to administer your entire realm sitting in a town without leaving for anything, much like a king would do :lol:

So if you keep Jaculan Maru Seonon and Sanala (and maybe a fifth town for pure income/as a gold mine) while using certain mods you can play king simulator
 
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Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
When I say the AI is barely effected by it, I mean that their behavior and the interaction with the player barely changes. It doesn't matter what troops they have, they all die the same so unless some change in prosperity prevents them from having an army that can siege a fief (it doesn't) nothing changes. You could make prosperity never change no matter what and the player experience would be the same or, possibly improved if some towns would always have food for the garrison at low prosperity.
 

xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
When I say the AI is barely effected by it, I mean that their behavior and the interaction with the player barely changes. It doesn't matter what troops they have, they all die the same so unless some change in prosperity prevents them from having an army that can siege a fief (it doesn't) nothing changes. You could make prosperity never change no matter what and the player experience would be the same or, possibly improved if some towns would always have food for the garrison at low prosperity.
it does change, yet it's very biased.

take a look at this abomination:

X3UKpNu.png


This is a heavily modded run that optimizes both player and AI - The most notorious mods I'm using are full RBM combined with Diplomacy and the Grain bug fix (lords sell the excess grain)

game starts at 1084 - 2 years in and due to crap features from Diplomacy mod you get the same bad balancing from vanilla with the added nonsense border-gore - as always sturgia gets stomped.

Looking closely in-game, Sanala's already stomping in prosperity along with Ortysia, so Western Empire manages to hold their own alive - due to auto-resolve (didn't install the auto-resolve fix mod yet) Vlandia and Khuzait are both extremely favored at all times, the sole reason why Aserai seem mostly intact is because they haven't had a Khuz+Vland simultaneous war yet, and their prosperity allows them to keep strong.

When they start having the 2 front wars, S Empire takes their eastern tip while Vlandia and Western start a whack-a-mole game with Quyaz - once they get beaten several times over, than they start losing their core lands, and during that time if they lose Sanala, they are a goner.

The struggling empire's also due to bad prosperity + bad geography - Ortysia would be able to carry them if it was in a more central position (or if any other towns were as favored as Ortysia is in the imperial mid-lands instead of border zones). NE is the worse economy among imperial factions, and as such they often suffer from what we see in the SS here -> early shrinking + late game death.

Still on the screenshot: Tyal as always already started it's "rebel clan spam" only 2 years in, overtime without stabilizing it or sturgia taking it back, it'll likely spawn up to 10 clans over 15 in-game years. Same often happens with Husn Fulq.

The thing that get's under my skin is that these generically spawned clans often survive and are incorporated - At times I get medium length runs where I end up having 5 to 10 surviving rebels incorporated into realsm owning no lands, often they'll also join non-culture kingdoms, and they'll kill the default game houses by stealing marriages very often.
 
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Bluko88

Veteran
Eh does it really matter?

About the only reason to care about Prosperity is that it effects the spawn of some high end gear I think. And a bit more taxes/revenue?

High Prosperity is only meant to be temporary; everything with Towns/Castles is meant to be seeking an equilibrium - it's why you have Loyatly drift, etc. Think of it this way if a city got so big population wise that it relies on foreign food exports, you can be pretty sure at some point that city's population will crash when there's a food shortage. Most cities, even ones that have effectively been around hundreds/thousands of years go through these sort of highs and lows of "prosperity".


Like Ananda says only thing that matters in this game is the battle loop. That's where all your income really comes from right now. Trade, Fief taxes, Workshops, Caravans - yes they can net you some additional money. But it all pales in comparison to what you'll get from a few minutes of fighting a larger battle. So really why even bother with the rest?

I understand the appeal of trade and fief management, but like smithing and the board games - it's really all just a distraction to make you think the game is "deep". I think TW has really handicapped themselves by adding all these extraneous systems into the game. I believe a lot of the reason development is so slow for this game is they are trying to keep all these systems working in some kind of harmony. But in the end this game is just really a medieval kingdom battle sim of sorts. So while I admire TW's ambition to make a medieval sandbox, it has become painfully clear it's just not possible to make all this work, at least not in a reasonable amount of time.

I don't think village production will ever be reasonably balanced; you'll always end with too much or too little


So here I go on big tangent...

Quite frankly I would strip all of the following from Bannerlord:
  • Food; get rid of all of it - including livestock
  • Trade; and all Trade items like Jewelry
  • Workshops; and all produced goods
  • Smithing
  • Village Parties (why are these even a thing to begin with?)
  • Looter Parties (Looters might be fine as low level bandit, but there shouldn't be armies of hobos wandering around)
  • Kingdom Policies
  • Gangs
  • Security
  • Fief management (takes too long, very little real benefit)

Here's what I would leave in or add:
  • Caravans; basically just gather gold - longer and further they run more gold they accumulate
  • Bandits; they raid villages and attack caravans (they steal gold) - as can the player
  • Notables; exist solely as Quest Givers/Influence Makers (i.e. gain their support can overthrow existing fief lord). When a Notable likes you enough, they also support you, granting you Influence
  • Influence; effectively a second kind of currency you get by building relations, doing favors
  • Armies; you would still need to spend influence to maintain/gather armies
  • Villages, Castles, Towns; all generate income - they generate progressively more the less they are disturbed via raids/sieges i.e. Prosperity!
  • Diplomacy/Politics; Calradia is offensively bland - bare minimum needs to be alliances and truces

So you start the game landless. You build up a party by either being a "good guy" doing quests or "bad guy" raiding/stealing what you can, heck maybe you do both strategically. Pretty similar to how it is now. Eventually you earn either enough money, influence, or muscle that you can become the landlord/chief of a village by buying it outright with gold, influencing out the existing landlord, or take it by force.

Instead of buying "food" (nobody really likes going around to buy cheese let's be real) you gather "supplies" by waiting in your camp, villages, or towns. You can also raid to get supplies quickly. This means you can't always be on the move though, marching from one end of the continent to the other. You do need to stop occasionally. Here's where you can add side activities in Towns, Villages, and Castles to pass time. Probably where you can have some actual RPG stuff as well. Maybe your soldiers get into brawl, maybe a companion steals something from a villager, etc. The bigger your party the more supplies you will drain (stewardship would increase supply capacity) as well. Basically even if you can put together a "doom stack" army it'll simply run out of supplies.

Basically the scheme of the game would be to
1. Build a Party i.e. complete quests to earn money
2. Become a Landowner i.e. take over a village/small fief so you have a steady income source
3. Become a Lord i.e. by taking over castle/town or joining faction so get even more income
4. Become a King i.e. by taking over multiple castles/towns and get rich


Loot from battles should provide some chump change and the occasional nice bit of gear, but ultimately owning land/collecting taxes is where you really generate money. If you want to be more then a Mercenary - you gotta claim some land. This would better justify the game's constant wars and give more importance to taking and owning fiefs.

Ideally I think Bannerlord would be better if it truly focused on party building, relationship building, fief building, and finally kingdom building. That way it's kind of strategy/war game, kind of an RPG, but it's not trying to effectively simulate a whole medieval world. Instead of modding in "diplomacy" we should be modding in "farming" or "workshops" for flavor, but here we are...
 

xdj1nn

Knight
WBWF&S
Eh does it really matter?

About the only reason to care about Prosperity is that it effects the spawn of some high end gear I think. And a bit more taxes/revenue?

High Prosperity is only meant to be temporary; everything with Towns/Castles is meant to be seeking an equilibrium - it's why you have Loyatly drift, etc. Think of it this way if a city got so big population wise that it relies on foreign food exports, you can be pretty sure at some point that city's population will crash when there's a food shortage. Most cities, even ones that have effectively been around hundreds/thousands of years go through these sort of highs and lows of "prosperity".


Like Ananda says only thing that matters in this game is the battle loop. That's where all your income really comes from right now. Trade, Fief taxes, Workshops, Caravans - yes they can net you some additional money. But it all pales in comparison to what you'll get from a few minutes of fighting a larger battle. So really why even bother with the rest?

I understand the appeal of trade and fief management, but like smithing and the board games - it's really all just a distraction to make you think the game is "deep". I think TW has really handicapped themselves by adding all these extraneous systems into the game. I believe a lot of the reason development is so slow for this game is they are trying to keep all these systems working in some kind of harmony. But in the end this game is just really a medieval kingdom battle sim of sorts. So while I admire TW's ambition to make a medieval sandbox, it has become painfully clear it's just not possible to make all this work, at least not in a reasonable amount of time.

I don't think village production will ever be reasonably balanced; you'll always end with too much or too little


So here I go on big tangent...

Quite frankly I would strip all of the following from Bannerlord:
  • Food; get rid of all of it - including livestock
  • Trade; and all Trade items like Jewelry
  • Workshops; and all produced goods
  • Smithing
  • Village Parties (why are these even a thing to begin with?)
  • Looter Parties (Looters might be fine as low level bandit, but there shouldn't be armies of hobos wandering around)
  • Kingdom Policies
  • Gangs
  • Security
  • Fief management (takes too long, very little real benefit)

Here's what I would leave in or add:
  • Caravans; basically just gather gold - longer and further they run more gold they accumulate
  • Bandits; they raid villages and attack caravans (they steal gold) - as can the player
  • Notables; exist solely as Quest Givers/Influence Makers (i.e. gain their support can overthrow existing fief lord). When a Notable likes you enough, they also support you, granting you Influence
  • Influence; effectively a second kind of currency you get by building relations, doing favors
  • Armies; you would still need to spend influence to maintain/gather armies
  • Villages, Castles, Towns; all generate income - they generate progressively more the less they are disturbed via raids/sieges i.e. Prosperity!
  • Diplomacy/Politics; Calradia is offensively bland - bare minimum needs to be alliances and truces

So you start the game landless. You build up a party by either being a "good guy" doing quests or "bad guy" raiding/stealing what you can, heck maybe you do both strategically. Pretty similar to how it is now. Eventually you earn either enough money, influence, or muscle that you can become the landlord/chief of a village by buying it outright with gold, influencing out the existing landlord, or take it by force.

Instead of buying "food" (nobody really likes going around to buy cheese let's be real) you gather "supplies" by waiting in your camp, villages, or towns. You can also raid to get supplies quickly. This means you can't always be on the move though, marching from one end of the continent to the other. You do need to stop occasionally. Here's where you can add side activities in Towns, Villages, and Castles to pass time. Probably where you can have some actual RPG stuff as well. Maybe your soldiers get into brawl, maybe a companion steals something from a villager, etc. The bigger your party the more supplies you will drain (stewardship would increase supply capacity) as well. Basically even if you can put together a "doom stack" army it'll simply run out of supplies.

Basically the scheme of the game would be to
1. Build a Party i.e. complete quests to earn money
2. Become a Landowner i.e. take over a village/small fief so you have a steady income source
3. Become a Lord i.e. by taking over castle/town or joining faction so get even more income
4. Become a King i.e. by taking over multiple castles/towns and get rich


Loot from battles should provide some chump change and the occasional nice bit of gear, but ultimately owning land/collecting taxes is where you really generate money. If you want to be more then a Mercenary - you gotta claim some land. This would better justify the game's constant wars and give more importance to taking and owning fiefs.

Ideally I think Bannerlord would be better if it truly focused on party building, relationship building, fief building, and finally kingdom building. That way it's kind of strategy/war game, kind of an RPG, but it's not trying to effectively simulate a whole medieval world. Instead of modding in "diplomacy" we should be modding in "farming" or "workshops" for flavor, but here we are...
all of the systems are already woven, and apparently you don't fully understand the core game style from M&B at all.
All of these things are necessary. Prosp, as I've explained time and time again, affects recruitment directly along with wealth for AI clans.

About loot, it should be profitable, but not as much or more than owning lands, obviously. As is it's the single most profitable venue in the entire game, and in that pt we agree partially... I mean, if you bash in an entire army, you gonna have access to all their military gear, supplies and other stuff - it will, and always was (irl), profitable.

Your vision, though, would make for a very boring bare-bones game experience. BL sins on lack of depth, removing things won't fix that, it'll just make it into a shallow puddle
 
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