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Problems with Bannerlord's Troop Trees... and Solutions

Would you prefer something like these troop trees instead of the ones we have in vanilla?


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five bucks

Squire
1: Lack of variety. Different faction armies mostly use the same type of troops. 5 out of 8 of the factions in the game are "generalist" factions whose armies fight in a very similar way, with no clear specialty or weakness. This means the player hardly ever needs to change their tactics when fighting different factions, and that makes battles repetitive.
2: Soldiers with long pikes with the spear brace ability are too uncommon. This reduces variety, and means players don't get to use tactical spear bracing very often.
3: Units bearing large, tough shields are too common. Every faction having a lot of generic shield+spear guys reduces variety. Also, large shields are a strong counter to archers - as they take 30+ hits to destroy. If Taleworlds makes armor work properly like they said they would, then archers will become weak, unless the amount of shielded troops is reduced.
4: Some units are just a weaker version of another unit in the same tier, like Pikeman being a weaker Sergeant, or Heavy Spearman being a weaker Heavy Axeman. Others are too similar to another unit in the same tier, like Mameluke Soldier and Tribesman.
5: The Khuzait and Aserai troop trees only give you a choice at T2 and T3, then no choices at all after that.
6: Troop trees of minor factions who are supposed to be Elite Warriors, like the Skolderbroda, Last Legion, and Ghilman, don't have T5 soldiers.
7: Mercenary troops are too weak.
8: A couple of factions could stand to be closer in design to their historical inspiration which Taleworlds has said they were based on.

So here are some suggestions that try and fix these issues.

To increase the variety between faction troop trees, we can give each faction a unique "specialty" and "weakness" which no other faction shares.
A specialty can be expressed by fielding the most of a certain troop type. For example, Sturgia already has the specialty of the most heavy infantry.
A weakness can be expressed by fielding the least of a certain troop type. For example, Vlandia has the weakness of the least horse archers.
Strengths and weaknesses should try and be similar to the real-life culture that each faction is based on.

NHcg5EM.png

Shield Infantry (use a large, strong shield): 35 !!
Shock Infantry (use a high-damage, two-handed swinging weapon): 12
Pike Infantry (use a two-handed weapon that can be braced, and no shield): 4 !!
Ranged Infantry (use ranged weapons as their main weapon): 27
Ranged Cavalry (mounted and use ranged weapons as their main weapon): 15
Melee Cavalry (mounted and use melee weapons as their main weapon): 23

Aserai specialty: None
Battania specialty: lots of Shield Infantry (same as Sturgia)
Empire specialty: most Ranged Infantry
Khuzait specialty: most Ranged Cavalry
Sturgia specialty: lots of Shield Infantry (same as Battania)
Vlandia specialty: most Melee Cavalry

Aserai weakness: None, can do everything (same as 3 factions)
Battania weakness: None, can do everything (same as 3 factions)
Empire weakness: None, can do everything (same as 3 factions)
Khuzait weakness: lacks Shock Infantry
Sturgia weakness: None, can do everything (same as 3 factions)
Vlandia weakness: lacks Ranged Cavalry

uJYdGVx.png

Shield Infantry - 21
Shock Infantry - 16
Pike Infantry - 16
Ranged Infantry - 24
Ranged Cavalry - 16
Melee Cavalry - 20

Aserai specialty: most Ranged Infantry.
Battania specialty: most Shock Infantry.
Empire specialty: most Pike Infantry.
Khuzait specialty: most Ranged Cavalry.
Sturgia specialty: most Shield Infantry.
Vlandia specialty: most Melee Cavalry.

Aserai weakness: lacks Pike Infantry.
Battania weakness: lacks Melee Cavalry.
Empire weakness: lacks Shock Infantry.
Khuzait weakness: lacks Shield Infantry.
Sturgia
weakness: lacks Ranged Infantry.
Vlandia weakness: lacks Ranged Cavalry.


Here is a faction-by-faction breakdown.


ASERAI
6RjHYwg.png


With these changes, the average Aserai army you fight will be more powerful at range than any other faction, letting off a huge volley of arrows and javelins at the start of a battle to wreak havoc with static enemy formations or take down circling horse archers with superior accuracy. When fighting them, the player could change their tactics to focus on shieldwalls to absorb the ranged spam, or exploit the Aserai's lack of pikes by sending in cavalry charges.

This represents the Aserai's historical inspiration, the Arabs, a culture whose warriors prided themselves on mastering many forms of combat, but in particular the bow and javelin. What we would call "pikemen" were not common, instead Arab spears were usually light, under 2.5 metres in length, and used with a shield one-handed.

* Make the Tribesman start off as an archer rather than light infantry. This will make ranged infantry common in low-tier Aserai armies, helping give them the specialty of having the most ranged infantry in the game. It will also introduce more meaningful choice to Aserai's troop tree (other than their shield and sidearm, Mameluke Soldier and Tribesman are basically the same unit currently).
* Make the entire shield infantry branch derive from the Mameluke Soldier. This will logically divide Aserai's troop tree into "archer/horse archer" and "melee infantry" branches with less confusing progression.
* Make the horse archers branch off the T3 archer. This will be a more logical progression of archer > horse archer.
* Add a new branch, the T5 Veteran Javelineer, a dedicated javelin ranged infantry unit with 3 stacks of javelins, which branches off the shield infantry. This will make ranged infantry more common in fully-upgraded Aserai armies, and will also give the Aserai more choice and add something unique to the game.



BATTANIA
zLbyD0v.png


With these changes, the average Battanian army will have the most shock infantry of any opponent you face. Battanian hordes of charging shock troops throwing javelins will be the terror of any shieldwall! A smart player could run heavy cavalry-focused armies against Battania to run down their shock troops.

This represents Battania's historical inspiration, the Ancient Celts, Welsh, Scots and Irish. One thing Ancient Celts, Scots and Irish are famous for is fighting in wild, ferocious charges, using falxes, or long swords, or great axes; in other words, shock infantry. The Celts however generally did not engage in heavily armoured lance cavalry charges, instead preferring to use the javelin; due to the many swamps and rocky terrain of Ireland and Wales, heavy armour was impractical, so Celtic cavalry were mainly skirmishers wearing medium armour.

* Make the Clan Warrior a shock infantry troop; remove its spear and replace it with a two-handed weapon. Having shock infantry units be common from T2 to T5 will help give Battania the unique specialty of having the most shock infantry units in the game.
* Move the Raider - Veteran Falxman shock infantry branch to start from the Clan Warrior, so the shock infantry line is a logical progression.
* Change the Veteran Falxman's equipment to a Falx, a targe, a short sword and a stack of javelins, and reduce the armor that it wears to lower quality. Removing the Rhomphaia will make the Falxman's name correct, and make it more representative of the Celts (who didn't use the rhomphaia, not that it ever existed in that form anyway). Changing its other equipment is done to differentiate it from another introduced shock troop (see below).
* Turn the Scout into a javelin cavalry skirmisher with two stacks of javelins, and move it so it branches off the Skirmisher. Remove the Battanian Horseman. Battania's melee cavalry line is inconsistent with Battania's backstory and real-life inspiration. Removing this branch will cement Battania as an infantry faction, and also add room for a shock infantry unit which matches their backstory.
* Add a new shock infantry troop, the T5 Gallowglass, branching from the shield infantry line. To differentiate itself from the Veteran Falxman, it uses a two-handed axe, wears heavier armour, uses throwing axes, and has no shield. Having two shock infantry branches at T5 will help make shock infantry be very common in Battania's armies, giving them a specialty. It will also make their culture description accurate, which currently says "Battanian warriors charge into battle with great swords and great axes". It will also nicely represent an aspect of Celtic warfare, the Gallowglasses. Gallowglasses were a style of Celtic warrior in Ireland and Scotland, who fought using great-axes and mail in a style imitating the Vikings. To differentiate it from the Veteran Falxman, it can have an axe instead of a falx, throwing axes instead of javelins, and heavier armour at the expense of no backup shield.
* Remove the shields from the Skirmisher, Veteran Skirmisher and Wildling, and give them longer braceable spears. This will reduce the amount of shielded troops in Battania, making them play more differently to Sturgia; and will also reduce the amount of large shields in the game, helping archers stay viable after armor is buffed.
* Replace the braceable spears of the Picked Warrior and Oathsworn with a different non-braceable weapon to keep them different from the Wildling line.
* Give the Battanian Mounted Skirmisher a second stack of javelins and a short lance so it can function as a javelin cavalry in its main role, with a weak secondary role as melee cavalry.



EMPIRE
StHKDhX.png

With a troop tree like this, pike representation in the game will increase massively, and the Empire's armies will feel more unique to command or fight against; large formations of braced pikes will make Empire armies the toughest target for any attempt at a direct cavalry charge. However, due to their lack of shock infantry, a smart player can advance in shieldwalls, and the Empire will have difficulty breaking through them.

This represents the Empire's historical inspiration, the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines fielded pike units regularly, with pikes up to 4 metres long, using the tactic more than any other culture that Bannerlord takes inspiration from. What native Byzantine armies lacked, however, was shock infantry - they had to hire foreign mercenaries (the Varangian Guard) for that role.

* Turn the Menavlion weapon from a slashing weapon into a pike. This will properly represent how it was actually used in real life.
* Change the Imperial Infantryman into a pike infantry troop by changing its shield into a smaller, weaker shield, and give it a mid-length braceable spear and stack of javelins, in exchange for lighter armor. Having pike infantry units be common from T2 to T5 will help give Empire the unique specialty of having the most pike infantry units in the game. This will also well represent the Byzantine Peltasts.
* Add a branch of lightly-armed pike infantry which carries small shields and javelins, going to T5. By T2, it carries a long pike. This will help specialization as mentioned above, and represent the long kontarion the Byzantine frontline troops used.
* Delete the Menavliaton unit, so the branch starts at T5, allowing the heavy infantry branch to start at T3.
* Remove the javelin from the Elite Menavliaton and give them even better armor than any T5 Empire troop, to differentiate them from the main pike troop line. Having two pike infantry units at T5 will help make Empire have the most pike infantry units.
* Remove the T4-T5 bowman branch. This will make Aserai stand out more as the ranged archery specialists, and leaves room for two branches of pike infantry, so that the Empire can stand out as the pike infantry specialists. It will also make crossbows more prominent in the game relative to bows, increasing variety. The Sergeant Crossbowman could also be named the Palatine Guard, to preserve that cool name while also differentiating its name more from the Vlandian Sergeant.



KHUZAIT
aFSl5aq.png

Khuzaits are already a good example of a Bannerlord faction which feels very different to other factions to fight, with armies largely comprised of highly mobile horse archers that circle the battlefield. If lacking good shielded infantry becomes their weakness, then the player will be able to counter them by using large amounts of ranged infantry, who will have plenty of vulnerable targets to shoot at.

The Khuzaits' ranged cavalry specialty is accurate for their historical inspiration, the Gokturks, Avars, Khazars, Kipchaks, and Mongols, who were well known for their horse archery. On the other hand, the people of the steppes are not as well known for their infantry skills, so the most appropriate unique weakness for the Khuzaits would be something to do with infantry. As a unique weakness for shielded infantry is not appropriate for any other faction, the Khuzaits are the best candidate.

* Seriously nerf the damage of the Glaive. Right now it is so powerful that it makes the Khuzait Khan's Guard the most overpowered unit in the game in melee combat.
* Reduce the HP of the Khuzait Wicker Shields to 280/240/200, and remove the Eastern Cavalry Shield from the Darkhan (replacing it with a wicker shield). Change the main weapon of the Footman line from the steppe spear to a glaive, with the shield now just a backup. This will make the game more varied by reducing the amount of "generic spearman with big shield" every single troop tree currently has, and will give Khuzaits the unique weakness of having the worst shield troops in the game.
* Make the ranged infantry branch start at T4 instead of T3, to distribute the upgrade choices more.
* Add a Pike Infantry branch at T5, a new unit the Khuzaits did not have before, to give them more choice and variety and increase the use of the braced pike game mechanic.



STURGIA
JJ0eMIO.png

Currently Sturgia has the specialty of most heavy shielded troops in the game, but it does not stand out much, as every faction has lots of heavy shields. With changes to all troop trees, Sturgian armies will stand out as the best at creating shieldwall formation, to close the gap against archers and get into melee. The player can use shock infantry tactics to break through their formations, or field lots of horse archers to exploit their lack of ranged retaliation and lack of chasing ability.

This represents the Sturgians' historical inspiration, the Kievan Rus'. The Rus' style of warfare was Slavic with Norse influences; the great majority of their armies were comprised of infantry armed with spears, shields, and axes. Rus' armies did field archers, but as a unique weakness for ranged infantry does not suit the theme of any other faction, the Sturgians are the best candidate, especially since they already have the weakest ranged infantry in Bannerlord.

* Turn the entire Woodsman-Horse Raider branch into pike infantry. This will increase Sturgia's identity as an infantry faction, be closer to their historical inspiration (the most enormously common troop of the Kievan Rus was levied spearmen), and increase the representation of pikes in the game. Also, right now both Sturgia and Battania have javelin cavalry branches! Removing the javelin cavalry from Sturgia will make them more distinct from Battania.
* Make the Heavy Spearman branch off that pike infantry line, so they compete less directly with the Heavy Axeman; and also divide the Sturgian troop tree into "spear-oriented, Slavic-style" and "axe-oriented, Nordic-style" halves.
* Give the Heavy Spearman a Slavic-style teardrop kite shield, a mace as a sidearm, and significantly tougher armour to compensate for their lack of throwing weapons. This will help differentiate the Heavy Spearman from the Heavy Axeman, visually and in gameplay. (Also, spear troop-using AI needs to be fixed, and the damage and speed of spears needs to be buffed).
* Give the elite line throwing axes and a Slavic-style teardrop kite shield from T3. This will make them look and feel more unique and help give the faction more Slavic flavour.
* Turn the Veteran Bowmen into a horse archer. This will give the Sturgians the unique weakness of not having a T5 foot archer. It also references the horse archers who fought in the Rus' armies, the Black Caps. And it means the Sturgians and Battanians no longer both have javelin cavalry.



VLANDIA
7W5gbyd.png


Vlandia are a good example of a Bannerlord faction with a different play style from other factions, due to clear strengths and weaknesses. Their highest amount of melee cavalry encourages the player to lead a stampeding horse charge with destructive force, but they are vulnerable to a strong block of pike infantry; if the amount of pike infantry in Bannerlord is increased to not be so rare, this will force Vlandian armies to use crossbowmen tactically, to soften up the front ranks before making a charge.

The current design nicely represents the Vlandians' historical inspiration, the Normans (and other Western Europeans).

* Make the melee cavalry line start at T3 instead of T4. This will increase the proportion of melee cavalry in Vlandian armies, making their role as the melee cavalry specialists even clearer.
* Make the shock infantry line start at T4 instead of T3 (see above).
* Remove the braceable polearm from the Sergeant. This will give the Pikeman a reason to exist!
* Take the Broad Two-Handed Sword from the Voulgier, and give it to the Pikeman, to more evenly distribute the interesting weapons between the two.

GHILMAN
Proposed change: Add a T5 unit called the Ghulam Kingmaker, with better equipment than the Ghilman.

LAST LEGION
Proposed change: Move the Triarii to Tier 5 and improve its equipment, move the Principes to Tier 4 and improve its equipment, move the Hastati to Tier 3 and improve its equipment. Add a new unit, the Velites, at Tier 2.

SKOLDERBRODA
Proposed change: Move the Skolder Veteran Broda to Tier 5 and improve its equipment, move the Skolder Warrior Broda to Tier 4 and improve its equipment, and add a new unit at Tier 3, the Skolder Shield Broda.

GENERIC MERCENARY TREE
Proposed Change: Give the Hired Blade and Mercenary Swordsman a stack of throwing daggers, and buff their combat skills and armor.
 
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D0c1

Knight at Arms
excellent post as always.

the only change i have an issue with is the menavlion.

something needs to be done to make massed pikes/spears effective against infantry as well as cavalry. otherwise, the empire will be a weak faction by having 2/3 of their melee infantry as anti-cavalry only.

or they can simply keep the swinging and add bracing.
 

five bucks

Squire
Thank you! And yes you're right, pikes and spears definitely need to have the usefulness against infantry that they did in real life. They shouldn't just be "scare away cavalry sticks".
 

CaNpoG

Recruit
Yes, we need something to make the factions actually different to play as. Right now they all feel the exact same and require differences other than "The aserai's tier 5 archers' bow deals 50 damage per shot which is more than the empire's tier 5 archer which only deals 48 damage, that's why aserai are the best archer faction".
Another thing these two commenting before me already pointed out, is that spears need to be made useful against infantry too. Right now they literally are just "scare away cavalry sticks". When I waited for Bannerlord, I was hoping that this was changed from Warband, but it clearly wasn't.
 

Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
Good work on feedback; I broadly agree. Fundamentally there are a number of points that need revision:

Troop trees with advantages and disadvantages with enough personality in terms of troops with defined roles/functions to differentiate at a glance. Redundancy in defining role/role for each unit should be eliminated.

Urgent revision of the armour and weapon damage system. I'm quite concerned that Taleworlds has not yet solved this problem...

One aspect resulting from the damage problem of certain weapons is that of spears and pikes. If Brytenwalda/VC in its reforged version was able to introduce a harmony for combat against infantry and cavalry in terms of the use of these weapons, why in Bannerlord (supposedly a superior product) is this type of weapon seen as a "scare away cavalry sticks".

Mercenary troop trees also need a revision. A three-unit tree is really poor; if adding the little decisive factor that these units bring to the table, they bring little or nothing to the table. Personally I would expand to a number of units equivalent to +- half of a major faction, expanding the roles/functions of each of these.
 

guiskj

Squire
Good work. I like what you proposed.

Unfortunately, until the AI and the player have a bigger incentive to recruit troops of their own culture, this is all for naught. We will continue to see armies composed of a mix of units from all cultures.
 

xGreedo

Recruit
Don't do this to me. I am getting hopeful again even though i know this is going to be ignored.

Good post.
 

vota dc

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWB
These proposals are interesting but I think that some troops could be just limited in tier 4. For example nord in first game had an Archer with less tiers that could be upgraded fast but was weaker than archers of the other faction.
Expecially in case of Imperial bowmen, rather than upgrade in crossbowmen and lose all foot archers there should be an option to get the crossbow and but also to get a mediocre bowman that give rate of fire but isn't that good.
 
With these changes, the average Aserai army you fight will be more powerful at range than any other faction, letting off a huge volley of arrows and javelins at the start of a battle to wreak havoc with static enemy formations or take down circling horse archers with superior accuracy. When fighting them, the player could change their tactics to focus on shieldwalls to absorb the ranged spam, or exploit the Aserai's lack of pikes by sending in cavalry charges.

This is only marginally less shallow than the base game. You can kind of get away with it in a traditional RTS game where you typically don't fight the same enemies or army types for very long, or there are multiple situations in the game, or there are multiple factions per team, but in Bannerlord you'll be up against the aserai for something like 6 hours because of how wars work. This means the exact same tactic of hiding behind shields every time you fight them, because they are arbitrarily and uniformly better at range rather than situationally.

The same applies to your other suggestions too, where you yourself have outlined the optimal tactic for beating them. It just becomes a matter of making sure you have the right troop composition for that tactic and then doing it over and over again. This is kind of what players do anyway.

Personally I do not like the troop upgrade system at all. I don't think it makes any sense in the context of the game, and the linear progression of all units from "****e" to "good" really harms the variety and just becomes a non-decision once you have the money.
A much more dynamic system would be to allow you to recruit pretty much anything, but to give all troop types a role and have them be good at something. Instead of upgrading equipment, you would upgrade their stats. An unarmoured spearman would stay unarmoured, but he would get better at what he does. Light cavalry would get faster, archers would get more accurate etc.
This means that if you face a different army composition, you aren't always using the same tactics just because it's the same faction. The Aserai could come at you with a ton of heavy infantry if that's what the army leader favours. There might be an ex-Khuzait lord who hates infantry and has nothing but cavalry. I think this is a much better solution than just giving each faction a broad advantage that doesn't really differentiate battles much more than now.
 

D0c1

Knight at Arms
This means the exact same tactic of hiding behind shields every time you fight them, because they are arbitrarily and uniformly better at range rather than situationally.
but archery being their strength doesn't necessarily mean that all their lords will focus on archery.
taleworlds will do something about party templates by having different lords preferring different army compositions depending on their personalities or something.
A much more dynamic system would be to allow you to recruit pretty much anything, but to give all troop types a role and have them be good at something.
such a system can be added to the game through mercenaries. but i don't feel it integrates well with the premise of the game. that each group of people have their own way of waging war.
like steppe people are known for their horse archery but not european armies. so how easy would you train vlandian troops to use it?
maybe the system can be added to faction troops but they would require more experience to upgrade into something outside their faction's norms.

such a system would be interesting. please tell me more about it.
 

five bucks

Squire
This is only marginally less shallow than the base game. You can kind of get away with it in a traditional RTS game where you typically don't fight the same enemies or army types for very long, or there are multiple situations in the game, or there are multiple factions per team, but in Bannerlord you'll be up against the aserai for something like 6 hours because of how wars work.
It's still a massive step up from the base game to spend 48+ hours fighting 6 different ways against 8 factions, instead of spending 48+ hours fighting the same way, no?

Currently you use the same combination of archers+shieldies (or khan's guard+nothing) against Aserai, Battania, Nimps, Wimps, Simps, Khuzaits, Sturgia and Vlandia. There's no real incentive to change up tactics or army composition at all right now, but troop trees that are more different from each other (combined with the armor, cavalry and polearm fixes which are obviously necessary) can help with that.

Sure, on its own it doesn't turn the game into a tactics masterpiece. But it certainly does add variety and that's what I'm going for.
This means the exact same tactic of hiding behind shields every time you fight them, because they are arbitrarily and uniformly better at range rather than situationally.
It wouldn't be just fielding an all-shield army against an all-archer army, as the average Aserai army using that troop tree would still have shock infantry, shield infantry and ranged infantry as a big part of their army too, and the player probably wouldn't be fielding an entirely homogenous army either, as that would be wasting potential recruits.
The Aserai could come at you with a ton of heavy infantry if that's what the army leader favours. There might be an ex-Khuzait lord who hates infantry and has nothing but cavalry.
We might be seeing something like this.
"Another means to increase the variety of encounters and make AI party leaders feel more distinct are party templates. Currently, party leaders pursue largely the same “effective” template through their recruitment and upgrading of troops. We will explore and implement a greater number of templates that may be assigned to AI party leaders based on their cultural and character traits."

However, although it's impossible to know exactly how this mechanic will work, it seems very likely that it will still depend on what troops the AI party leader is able to recruit in their nearby area. So, it will still be good to have an overarching "flavour" to the most common troop type in a particular faction.
 
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like steppe people are known for their horse archery but not european armies. so how easy would you train vlandian troops to use it?
maybe the system can be added to faction troops but they would require more experience to upgrade into something outside their faction's norms.

What I mean is that I would ditch the troop tree entirely. The Vlandians will have a handful of troop types you can recruit, and maybe different buildings or policies provide more types, but once you have them you can only upgrade their stats. It's always bothered me how half the game is just training up unarmed recruits by throwing them at bandits, and how every army basically ends up the same because there is no disadvantage to levelling up to the top tier.

What the upgrade system also does, is that it leaves no room for specialists. Currently every upgrade has to be better in every way by the game's logic, so the guys at the bottom are completely useless, while the guys at the top massacre the low tiers in every possible situation. Even with armour having been nerfed to hell, this is still an issue.


but i don't feel it integrates well with the premise of the game. that each group of people have their own way of waging war.

If this premise is so rigid that it implies a clearly defined "best" army composition for each faction then I think it needs to be changed.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that factions should have no constraints in army composition. I just think that these differences should be a lot more nuanced than just "good at range" or "good infantry" which are diversifications that will actually reduce variety in gameplay, seeing as you spend hours and hours with one faction against another.

Say you're going up against the generic ass empire factions. Instead of the same top tier infantry and cataphract spam 1000000 times, I would like to see specialist troops like light infantry and cavalry actually being dangerous to heavy infantry in some scenarios, so that no army you bring is guaranteed to win or even be reliably advantageous against a given faction.
 

Tryvenyal

Squire
* Remove the T4-T5 bowman branch. This will make Aserai stand out more as the ranged archery specialists, and leaves room for two branches of pike infantry, so that the Empire can stand out as the pike infantry specialists. It will also make crossbows more prominent in the game
This is a current issue I wish to highlight and avoid to expand upon.

A T2 unit with one weapon-type that upgrades to one with another weapontype is very bad for captain-perks. "Should my Archery captain haw bow or crossbow?" "Both" works ofc but to be forced to use different types is not good. Then also T2 and T3 should be Crossbow or all of them stick to bow.

T1 is forgiven but all other regulars should at least have the option to stick to one weapontype from T2-T5
 

D0c1

Knight at Arms
I would like to see specialist troops like light infantry and cavalry actually being dangerous to heavy infantry in some scenarios
aren't light infantry and cavalry used because of the inability to get decent armor?
i have the impression that no one would choose light armor if he has the option of getting a heavy one.
the only exception i can think of might be scouts. but even those might just be heavy cavalry with the some armor pieces discarded.

i have never tested it but does encirclement work in bannerlord?
what other tactics would lightly armored units use to defeat heavy armored ones?
 
aren't light infantry and cavalry used because of the inability to get decent armor?

If you are talking historically, not necessarily. Mounted javelinmen and slingers for example were not supposed to be counter-engaged by an enemy, or hold ground, or anything like that. It's pointless to provide armour to men who are specialised to harass infantry who can't strike back, or throw javelins and run. I think in the game this should be exaggerated so that heavy infantry can only walk while in formation or holding shields up, while light infantry can run everywhere and don't have to be as close together. Similarly light cavalry would just be too fast to catch by normal cavalry, but would rout instantly if there were no more heavy infantry on the battlefield or if they ran out of ammo.

There was a lot of bluster before bannerlord launched about how the battanians were a hit and run faction that could run circles around slow empire infantry, but the moment the game released it was obvious that there was nothing like that. As much as I think the design of the Battanians is the worst in game, they are made even sillier by the fact that they all have to have heavy armour and infantry to keep up in a meta where only raw damage output and armour matter.

Obviously what I'm suggesting would require a total rework of the AI and combat that I know is never going to happen so long as the development team is the same. But I don't think the game can truly be fixed without this kind of change.
 

five bucks

Squire
What I mean is that I would ditch the troop tree entirely. The Vlandians will have a handful of troop types you can recruit, and maybe different buildings or policies provide more types, but once you have them you can only upgrade their stats.

I think in the game this should be exaggerated so that heavy infantry can only walk while in formation or holding shields up, while light infantry can run everywhere and don't have to be as close together. Similarly light cavalry would just be too fast to catch by normal cavalry, but would rout instantly if there were no more heavy infantry on the battlefield or if they ran out of ammo.

There was a lot of bluster before bannerlord launched about how the battanians were a hit and run faction that could run circles around slow empire infantry, but the moment the game released it was obvious that there was nothing like that. As much as I think the design of the Battanians is the worst in game, they are made even sillier by the fact that they all have to have heavy armour and infantry to keep up in a meta where only raw damage output and armour matter.

Obviously what I'm suggesting would require a total rework of the AI and combat that I know is never going to happen so long as the development team is the same. But I don't think the game can truly be fixed without this kind of change.
Combat skills alone aren't going to be useful enough to make the difference up in equipment. A "specialist" peasant warrior wearing cloth and carrying a blacksmith's hammer is still going to get slaughtered by a longbowman, even if his combat stats are over 9000.
It also doesn't make any sense from a realism perspective that you are paying your troops money to upgrade their combat stats, but not their weapons or armor, and their equipment all just stays the same no matter how long they stay with you.
I'm also curious as to what you plan to do with higher-tier weapon and armor models. Do you just recruit a warrior wearing a coat-of-plates right off the bat, but he's a noob and starts with low stats that you have to upgrade? Or would you omit all high-tier and low-tier equipment from the game entirely? Neither option sounds great.
Player choice gets restricted in this way because if villages are still offering random assortment of troop types to recruit, and you aren't getting to choose what type of troop to upgrade to, then you are stuck with whatever the village gives you or else you just pass up recruits.

And as you already said yourself, you know such large-scale change is unlikely to happen anyway. I highly doubt even my suggestion will make it in, and that would only need changing of .xml files. I think your idea could work as a mod.
every army basically ends up the same because there is no disadvantage to levelling up to the top tier.
Well it's not basically the same, because within the mainline troop tree you have 5 separate branches of top-tier troop you can choose from, and you get the choice of what percentage of your army is comprised of which branches. In addition, there is plenty of time in the game where your whole army will not be fully upgraded because they simply haven't got enough XP yet.
What the upgrade system also does, is that it leaves no room for specialists. Currently every upgrade has to be better in every way by the game's logic, so the guys at the bottom are completely useless, while the guys at the top massacre the low tiers in every possible situation. Even with armour having been nerfed to hell, this is still an issue.
I wouldn't call it an issue at all. It's entirely realistic for well-trained, well-armed, well-armored troops to destroy poorly-trained and equipped ones, for starters. Players like having a satisfying sense of progression. The guys at the bottom aren't useless, they can still kill things, just not to the same degree. There are specialists, in the sense there are 6 endpoints per troop tree and 5 of them have different combat roles they specialize in: the best ranged combat, ranged attack absorption, shield destruction, dealing high charge damage to unprotected infantry, repelling cavalry charges, or ranged combat that avoids melee retaliation.
If this premise is so rigid that it implies a clearly defined "best" army composition for each faction then I think it needs to be changed.
As long as Taleworlds continues to use troop trees - as we know they will - there will always be a theoretically "best" army composition. And right now, due to the proliferation of large shielded infantry+archers, that "best" composition is the same for facing ALL enemy armies. The premise is better because it increases the variety in army compositions even a powergamer will use through the game by 6x.

Also the "best" composition is not as one-dimensional as you're making it sound; it's good to bring lots of one type of troop to counter the most prevalent troop type of an enemy army, but you can also still have plenty of other variation since their army will not be all that troop type. And Bannerlord counters are soft counters so you don't even *have* to bring counters to be able to win.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think that factions should have no constraints in army composition. I just think that these differences should be a lot more nuanced than just "good at range" or "good infantry" which are diversifications that will actually reduce variety in gameplay, seeing as you spend hours and hours with one faction against another.
I would like to see specialist troops like light infantry and cavalry actually being dangerous to heavy infantry in some scenarios, so that no army you bring is guaranteed to win or even be reliably advantageous against a given faction.
The player getting an advantage for pre-planning is a good thing.

The player will not be "guaranteed" to win just because their army is well-chosen to have an advantage against the most common type of soldier in the place they're fighting. There will still be plenty of uncertainty, because:

* There is still plenty of variation in army compositions regardless. You know what their most common troop type is likely to be, but you don't know what the ratios of the enemy army will be. In addition, AI armies are rarely fully upgraded.
* Often the enemy will outnumber you, so the advantage from soft-countering them may not be enough to offset that.
* The player could make a tactical ****-up, like leaving their pike infantry exposed to missile fire without shieldwall protection or a failed cavalry charge.
* The RNG inherent in each individual troop's combat ability could simply not go your way.

And TW's party templates mechanic, depending on how it is implemented, could add more uncertainty still - maybe in the Vlandian army that just showed up to besiege your castle, one lord brings a party that's mostly crossbowmen due to him having the Cowardly trait, while another brings a party that's mostly cheap, unupgraded units due to the Greedy trait, and a third brings mostly shock infantry because he married in from Battania. And the rest, being culturally Vlandian and traitless, have normal parties for Vlandia.

So you might face a Vlandian army that is 50% 🐎, 10% 🪓, 10% 🛡️, 10% 🏹, and 20% 🦯;
while another is 30% 🐎, 15% 🪓, 25% 🛡️, 25% 🏹, and 5% 🦯
and another is 20% 🐎, 40% 🪓, 5% 🛡️, 5% 🏹 and 30% 🦯.

The faction will still on average have more melee cavalry units than any other, but despite that average, each individual army will still be different.
 
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D0c1

Knight at Arms
It's pointless to provide armour to men who are specialised to harass infantry who can't strike back
this is what i was thinking of. weapons and armor weren't provided by the army leader. were they?
didn't each man bring his own stuff?
going by this logic, why would anyone go lightly armored into a battle if he could afford to armor himself?

here, he mentions balearic slingers and how they were mostly wearing pelts and such. but he mentions that they sometimes were heavily armored and still used their slings when needed (10 minute mark).
i found nothing about their economic class and the such so idk if they could afford armor but still wore pelts.

i found nothing on mounted javelin men and that video was the only semi detailed thing i could find on slingers.

please provide some links about them.

i understand and agree that lower tier troops should have a chance against troops of higher tiers and not die instantly. but perhaps this could be achieved through giving them blunt weapons and making spears better.
 
Combat skills alone aren't going to be useful enough to make the difference up in equipment. A "specialist" peasant warrior wearing cloth and carrying a blacksmith's hammer is still going to get slaughtered by a longbowman, even if his combat stats are over 9000.

I agree, which is why I think the entire combat system needs to be overhauled so that it's less about stats. I think at a very low level you could make most troop types a tradeoff between damage and protection. Of course there is nothing inherently preventing you from having crossbowmen in plate armour, but it breaks the game by making everything else completely redundant.

It also doesn't make any sense from a realism perspective that you are paying your troops money to upgrade their combat stats, but not their weapons or armor, and their equipment all just stays the same no matter how long they stay with you.

"Upgrading" doesn't make sense from a realism perspective either. I think their stats should just go up automatically when you fight, but equipment should stay the same. Combined with my previous suggestion, this would prevent 90% of troop types in the game being useless fodder.

I wouldn't call it an issue at all. It's entirely realistic for well-trained, well-armed, well-armored troops to destroy poorly-trained and equipped ones, for starters. Players like having a satisfying sense of progression.

Having a sense of linear progression only works if it's something long term and mostly permanent, eventually leading to the end of the game. But being forced to repeatedly grind up your army only for them to get whittled away (even if you are the greatest general who ever lived) is not fun. In some of my favourite strategy games, there are speedruns very skilled people have done using the "worst" unit in some unexpected way using the games mechanics. But because in Bannerlord only the stats matter, that is impossible. You can't even gain a decisive advantage by completely surrounding the enemy, its just stats.

No army historically was completely comprised of heavily armoured professional infantry. And before you say "Rome", their armies were typically over 50% auxiliaries and light infantry or cavalry as well. Even when armour was readily available, it wasn't necessary to cover everyone in an inch of iron that they would then have to lug around for months and hundreds of miles. Even in the Roman military at its height, every 10 soldiers would have a handful of slaves carrying stuff around for them. Given how low casualty rates were in actual frontal engagements anyway, most military organisers prior to gunpowder were mostly concerned with actually getting a decent number of non-exhausted men to the battlefield, and armouring them was secondary.

here, he mentions balearic slingers and how they were mostly wearing pelts and such. but he mentions that they sometimes were heavily armored and still used their slings when needed (10 minute mark).
i found nothing about their economic class and the such so idk if they could afford armor but still wore pelts.

Slingers throughout history were mostly herders and hill people, so they probably never interacted with money at all, and didn't live near large economic centres where they could get armour easily. This is the same with Numidian cavalry, who by all accounts were completely unarmoured and rode very light horses, but were devastating in the punic wars and were a common contingent in Roman armies for hundreds of years.
There are some cases like how you mentioned above, where dedicated skirmishers would change equipment during the battle and then join the infantry, but in other situations (like turkish foot archers during the crusades) they would just go home once there was nothing else for them to easily shoot at.

I think video games have really given light infantry and cavalry a bad rep. Most people seem to think "light" just means "****e". But there are multiple reasons not to armour a group of soldiers, and shortcomings of every kind of equipment which mean that no army can ever be comprised of just one formation of the same troop type.
 

five bucks

Squire
I think their stats should just go up automatically when you fight, but equipment should stay the same. Combined with my previous suggestion, this would prevent 90% of troop types in the game being useless fodder.
But if you're saying you only have a handful of troop types, and equipment doesn't change, you realize this would mean you'd either have to have armoured elite heavy lance cavalry recruitable right alongside peasants with pitchforks and try and make them equal combatants somehow; or do something ridiculous like make heavy cavalry have terrible weapons that are no good for fighting; or else remove all high-level and low-level equipment entirely? Which would kill variety.

You keep saying "useless" but 90% of the troops in the game are not useless by any means. Two T4's are as useful in a fight as one T5, and one T4 is just marginally less useful. T1-T4 troops are worth bringing to battle because they will become T5's eventually, or because you simply haven't got access to T5's yet.
But being forced to repeatedly grind up your army only for them to get whittled away (even if you are the greatest general who ever lived) is not fun
Troops upgrade simply by playing battles, and you were going to do that anyway. So not forced.
Yes it's not fun to lose high-tier troops, which is why we ask for armour to be more effective and autocalc more accurate, so that a high-tier soldier is less likely to die an unforseen death to weak enemies. In addition, if you're a player who REALLY doesn't want your best troops to die, you can grind Medicine, or just reload a prior save.

However, I don't see many people complaining about the upgrade system itself. The fact elite troops die does not prevent people from having fun levelling their troops to T5/T6 and seeing them become better killing machines against low tier units. It's a power fantasy thing.
In some of my favourite strategy games, there are speedruns very skilled people have done using the "worst" unit in some unexpected way using the games mechanics. But because in Bannerlord only the stats matter, that is impossible. You can't even gain a decisive advantage by completely surrounding the enemy, its just stats.
Yes, there should definitely be more opportunities to maximise kills/routs and minimize casualties through skilled play. However I do not think it is a major flaw in the game design that the player cannot take a group of unupgraded peasants and use them to speedrun the entire game against elite knights, cataphracts, druzhina and faris.
No army historically was completely comprised of heavily armoured professional infantry.
You're casting the net a bit narrow there. Of course you're technically right as armies would also have cavalry and archers and so on. And they would have plenty of unarmoured troops.
But it would be wrong to imply that medieval armies had large amounts of unarmoured troops intentionally, as opposed to the truth: in most cases those troops didn't wear armour because they couldn't afford it.
Even when armour was readily available, it wasn't necessary to cover everyone in an inch of iron that they would then have to lug around for months and hundreds of miles.
Stash the armor on a pack animal.
When armor finally became affordable enough for average combatants, you saw it worn in massive quantities on all sorts of troops, at least until increased usage of guns in the late 1400s finally made it not worth the while.
iu

This is the same with Numidian cavalry, who by all accounts were completely unarmoured and rode very light horses, but were devastating in the punic wars and were a common contingent in Roman armies for hundreds of years
By Bannerlord's 600-1100 time period, the invention/dissemination of the stirrup, improved saddles, and couched lance techniques, which allowed the rider to put more force into an attack without falling off the horse, increased the comparative viability of armoured cavalry compared to unarmoured cavalry.
Thus, the proportion of armoured cavalry increased significantly relative to unarmoured cavalry.
Most people seem to think "light" just means "****e". But there are multiple reasons not to armour a group of soldiers
Here are the reasons:
1: They can't afford it/you don't want to spend money on it.
This is the MAIN reason you saw large numbers of troops not wearing armor.
2: The climate is too hot for heavy armor. (Apparently not that bad though, considering that MENA countries were the origin of the heavily armored cataphract)
3: The terrain, or horse breed, is unsuitable for using heavy cavalry. (See the Celtic Hobelar, whose existence was also partially due to not being able to afford armor)
3: They can run/ride faster, and tire themselves out less quickly.
However, the difference in speed and stamina between an unarmoured and armoured person - which is not as great as some people exaggerate it to be - is not enough to make up for the massive difference in protection.
When you're fighting over territory, and you need to actually hold an area, it's better to be someone who can kill or scare off both armoured and unarmoured infantry in melee, than someone who can kill unarmoured infantry while keeping their distance, but cannot actually hold an area against armoured infantry, and could die to a couple of sword slashes, or a couple of arrows. One of the biggest reasons to be faster is killing fleeing enemies after the battle is already won.

So, the pro of being armoured outweighs the con. Which is why people even bothered with the expense and annoyance of wearing armour.
 

Madijeis

Sergeant
WBNW
@Kentucky After reading through your replies numerous times, I have come to the conclusion that the game you have in mind is absolutely nowhere close as to what Bannerlord, or even Mount & Blade in general, is.

I have no clue what makes you think that recruits are completely useless. I have seen many Elite Cataphracts and Banner Knights stopped dead in their tracks by pitchforks, then swarmed and torn to pieces. The second I start underestimating a looter or a militiaman in a siege is the one he bashes my head with a hammer and knocks me out. Getting close to an infantry formation usally involves wading through the storm of javelins, rocks, hooks, and so on and so forth that always happens. There is a large arsenal of weapons, really just re-used civilian tools, that are capable of punching up the ladder and score lucky kills, especially in great numbers, as they swarm and score repeated hits on their betters. With that said, no. An army of paesants should not be able to roll over the entire continent. The "unexpected way" you're speaking of is most likely just some extreme form of cheesy, broken tactic. It is one thing to do a SL1 or use starting weapons on Dark Souls, another to field only paesants on Medieval 2 or Rome. A game isn't balanced if EVERY SINGLE TACTIC is viable. Some are just straight up bad, and it is fine, games should have bad choices too.

Your idea of replacing the upgrade system doesn't really make sense either. First of all, why wouldn't the soldier just pick up better equipment as they go along? Either looting it or buying it with money from the loot, the upgrade system is also meant to represent that. Yeah bud, the Roman Velites were toootaly fine going off to battle with nothing but a tiny shield and some javelins, it's not like they were the poorest people around, hoping to get better gear by looting the battlefield. There is no amount of tradeoff that is going to make a paesant be as viable as a knight in a battle, not without some, quite frankly, anime-level shenanigans.


Now, onto OP. Shield are a big part of the game for the simple reason that, in the time period the game references, "shield warfare" as a military paradigm was only beginning to be phased out to heavy cavalry. The prospect of Battania having less shields worries me, since, as a Vlandian, my main tactic is to shower them with bolts, until their formations whittles down enough to be mercilessly smashed by my cavalry. If an armor rebalance does occur, I can't imagine Battania being that affected by it since their troops largely rely on piercing said armor rather than having it themselves. The removal of the veteran Falxman, in particular, appears to me as disastrous: the unit, from a in-game lore perspective, seems to have originated as a hard counter for imperial cataphracts; while it's not very loyal to the real life inspiration, the real life Celts never had to face units nearly as armored as the cataphracts. It is true that the heavily wooded areas of Battania make it difficult to use skirmish tactics, but I don't feel like making them shieldless is a good idea. Perhaps a powerful buff to their ranged abilities should follow
 
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