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ShotgunJed's List of Suggestions For Making Balance Better

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ShotgunJed

Recruit
WBNWVC
Hi,

This post will be my list of all the ideas I have to make the game more better and balanced.

Changes will be updated over time as I come up with more ideas. Feel free to also add your own ideas and if they seem good, I'll add them in as well.

The philosophy / core values of these changes
I will first explain my philosophy, behind all my suggestions. My philosophy is similar to TaleWorlds:
  • An in-depth system with lots of mechanics and features, but without being too overly complicated
    • We don't want something that's too simple, like a kids mobile game, but also nothing too complicated like Dwarf Fortress
  • Balanced gameplay; no one strategy should be too dominant, no one troop (and type of troop) should be too strong
    • No more winning battles charging all heavy cavalry at the enemy (like you can in Warband, with Swadian Knights)
    • No more destroying all enemies with an archer army, like they are shooting bullets, instead of arrows
    • No more easily wining sieges with just heavy infantry (like you can in Warband, with Nord Huskarls)
    • Players should learn to adapt, to overcome their weaknesses and play to the strengths of their army; strategy should be rewarded
  • AI and the player is given equal opportunities; AI and player should not cheat, and should not have any additional unfair bonuses (no holding their hand)
    • This ties in with the in depth mechanism of the world, where lord's actions have an impact on the world. Raiding a lord's village should make it harder for them to get food and troops there. (In Warband, that did little to help, as lords will just still spawn with a huge army, despite their economy being ruined)
    • There will be no "cheesing" under this system. AI and the player will be rewarded for playing smartly, and not because they cheated the system
    • This also helps make the game more immersive
  • Immersion and realism, but not to the extreme that it becomes detrimental
    • At the end of the day, this game is still a game, and it should be fun, but by no means is this an arcade game for kids that should be easily beaten
    • Knowledge from the real world (i.e. from military strategy, history, politics, economics, logistics, etc.) should transfer into the game world
    • Realism features should be implemented, but they should not be too overly complicated or annoying
  • Long term replayability and a good sandbox experience
    • The game world should be interesting and simulated realistically (and randomly)
    • The game world should be its own living ecosystem, with lots of intricacies and depth; it should operate on its own without player intervention or help
    • Early, mid and late game should all be fun and challenging, with lots of things to potentially do, so that players may find their own way of playing the game
  • Game design should encourage "Flow" for the player, making the game addictive, fun and challenging
    • See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
    • Flow is achieved when the task is challenging, and the player has enough skills to take on the challenge
    • Flow is the state where the person is highly focused on their task at hand, immersed in it. Time goes very fast and they can have lots of fun tackling on the challenge
  • Mount & Blade lore and design integrity; Changes should stay true to what Mount and Blade should be, no weird or unimmersive changes
    • Suggestions will be kept as "vanilla" as possible, meaning that they would fit right inside the game
    • There will be no changes that will seem "out of place"
    • The original spirit of the game will be kept

My List of Suggestions
All my changes will be split into different groups, based on what part of the game they address.

UI
TBD

World Map (Graphics)
  1. Roads
    1. The empire should have roads between most of their cities, giving a passive movement speed boost to anyone using them

World Map (Gameplay)
  1. Allow settings to adjust game speed
    1. For players who do not wish to play through generations (only 1 character), there should be an option to make years in game take longer, so that the player doesn't age as quickly
  2. Troop culture and homogeneity
    1. Troops in your party all gain morale bonuses in map and in battle if they all from the same faction or culture, and lose morale if there's too much diversity amongst them (as troops will not trust each other)
    2. There can be a perk unlocked under leadership that negates this effect, allowing the player to maintain a diverse party
  3. Innate fief loyalty
    1. In order to help prevent snowballing, it will be difficult (initially) to maintain a fief that isn't of the same culture as the lord or player who governs it.
    2. This will make it easier for a faction to retake a fief that was originally theirs.
    3. It will have to take many years in game for a fief to finally assimilate and accept their new rulers.

Factions & Minor Factions
The current state of the world map factions is that it is rather stale, with lots of boring bandits. The transition from early to mid game is difficult and filled with lots of renown farming of looters. Right now, the map is also dangerous for defeated lords, thus contributing to the snowballing issue.
  1. Manhunters added to the map
    1. Just like how they were in warband, they'll now be back again in Bannerlord to restore the peace.
    2. They will patrol the world, hunting down looters and bandits, capturing them and ransoming them in towns
    3. There will only a few of them around, like in Warband, so there will still be lots of bandits for the player to hunt and to attack caravans and villlagers
    4. Calradia should have a little more of a breather, being a slightly safer place with them around
    5. Faction snowballing will also be slightly prevented as defeated lords can navigate back to their fiefs in a safer environment
  2. Bandits are no longer all on the same "team", and instead may often fight amongst themselves
    1. It makes no sense for all looters to be on the same side. Brigands are brigands, and will rob from anyone, including other brigands.
    2. Most bandits are rather simple, and they aren't sophisticated enough to engage in diplomacy, nor hold a fief, so any form of large organisation amongst them (raising large armies, holding fiefs, engaging in politics, etc.) is unrealistic
      1. Exceptions apply to minor factions that act like bandits
    3. There is a chance that bandits may fight against each other, more so if they are bandits of a different type
    4. Bandits fighting against each other occasionally adds more depth and realism to the game
      1. Because of this, Calradia is more safer, and snowballing is further prevented
    5. Applies to deserters as well, with more infighting amongst deserters of different factions
    6. Chance of fighting:
      1. Base 10% chance of bandits fighting each other when near each other
      2. -5 to 10% bonus chance (innate) added to the base chance, randomly selected on group spawn (some bandits are more aggressive and opportunistic than others)
      3. Base and innate chance together creates a range from 5% to 20% chance a looter will attack and chase another nearby looter
      4. If the target is a bandit of a different type, then the chance is increased by 10% (i.e. 15% to 30%)
        1. e.g. a looter fighting against sea raiders
        2. e.g. mountain bandits against looters
    7. Likelihood of bandits "absorbing" other bandits, thus creating large armies, is decreased by 20%
  3. Unprofessional armies (e.g. bandits, caravans and villagers) move slightly slower on the map
    1. Unprofessional armies typically do not place much importance on logistics, nor on scouting, and thus, they won't (and shouldn't) be moving as fast on the overworld map
    2. A -5%movement debuff should be applied to these types of parties
      1. Caravans should have a 3% speed penalty
      2. Bandits should have a 3% speed penalty
      3. Villagers should have a 5% speed penalty
    3. This will allow lords and the player to catch up to these parties a bit more easily
  4. Deserters added to the map
    1. Just like in warband. These broken men now roam the lands, fighting not for their liege, but for themselves.
    2. They have a very low chance of spawning randomly on the world map.
    3. They now spawn when the player or an AI lord fails to take care of their own troops; some of the troops that choose to leave a lord's party due to low morale, will simply create their own warband and fight for themselves
    4. It is possible to recruit them back to your party, like in warband, costs vary depending on the group's "personality":
      1. "Misguided": These soldiers are apologetic and are willing to join back to an army for a small fee (~50 denars per unit, per tier), just to ensure that they won't be betrayed again
      2. "Opportunistic": These soldiers will join back for a good sum (~100 denars per unit, per tier).
    5. They function exactly like existing bandits, and all the changes to bandits, thus they will fight other deserters and other bandits.
    6. Deserters will slowly gain exp as they battle (50% of the usual rate) and may upgrade themselves.
    7. Deserters will aid as part of helping the player transition from early to mid game.
      1. Most casual users are stuck farming looters, not knowing what next to farm. Fighting enemy lords is too much for them, and thus, deserters help as a transition between fighting looters and fighting lords.
  5. Militia and guard patrols
    1. In order to make towns, castles and villages a bit more safer, all fiefs can hire some militia (or even professional troops) to patrol the area and guard them against bandits.
    2. Towns and castles with proper escort upgrades can provide villagers some militia to escort them, to help them better defend against looters.
    3. Policies can enable these patrols to "tax" anyone that goes near them, or even corruption can allow this

Troops & Troop Trees
This is regarding troop stats, balance, equipment and how troop trees are structured. Right now bandits are overpowered and make it difficult to do certain quests.
  1. Bandits rebalanced
    1. Looters are no longer snipers and should have their current ranged abilities lowered by 20%.
    2. All bandits should also have their abilties reduced by 20%.

Quests
  1. Uprising of Broken Men
    1. With deserters being added, some lords or even guild masters have started to become concerned of a group of deserters nearby gaining more men and terrorising the lands
    2. Eliminate these deserters before they become too powerful for a reward
Combat
Right now the Time to Kill (TTK) is rather low, and field battles end rather quickly, especially in melee. Changes will be made to make things a bit more slower and realistic, and so that the player can enjoy the sight of battle a bit longer. Archers should no longer be killing machines, but are rather auxiliary forces to a player's infantry or cavalry. Proper positioning and usage of archers is essential.
  1. Body armor is more effective
    1. This basically means that body armor is more better at protecting units from all damage
      1. Units won't be dying as easily in most cases, and will last longer, especially heavily armored units
      2. Heavily armored units will now be able to fight against multiple weaker enemies
    2. Proposed changes are:
      1. Body, arm and leg damage reduction provided is doubled
    3. This should make melee battles last longer
  2. Damage to the head is increased, and helmets with no face protection will provide no damage reduction to the face (side and back still apply)
    1. Nobody should be able to survive a powerful arrow or javelin to the face, it should be a 1 hit kill
    2. Attacks to the face that's unprotected will no longer provide protection
      1. Having an arrow to a face, even with a helmet on will result in a 1 hit kill
      2. If the arrow, javelin or melee attack hits from the side or the back, then damage is calculated as normal
      3. Helmets that cover the face work as normal
    3. Attacks to the head should deal even more damage (100%?)
    4. This should make cavalry a bit more deadlier against most troops, and allows archer volleys instant kills if they can land some arrows to an unprotected head/face
  3. Arrow and bolt damage is reduced
    1. Right now balance resembles that of the Warband mod Prophesy of Pendor, where the elven archers are overpowered and destroy everything
    2. Proposed changes are:
      1. Arrows and bolts deal 20% less damage, but should still 1 hit kill to the unprotected head and neck, if its loosed by a non-recruit soldier (Tier 2 and above, roughly speaking)
    3. These should make archers slightly less effective overall against heavily armored soldiers
  4. Local damage to body parts now affect a unit's fighting ability
    1. Getting damaged to the legs will make a unit move slower in the field
    2. Getting damaged to the arms will make a unit's fighting stats lower temporarily, and reduce the damage that they deal
    3. Debuffs are based upon:
      1. Number of hp damage dealt to a region (leg, torso or arm), capped up to 50
      2. Type of damage dealt (sword cuts wont slow a person down much, but a javelin or arrow stuck in the leg will. Broken bones will definitely slow a person)
        1. Blunt > Piercing > Cutting. Blunt damage will do the most to slow someone, then piercing, then cutting.
      3. So a person that has taken 50 damage from arrows in to the leg, will move slower than someone who has taken 50 damage from swords (cutting)
    4. This allows archers to help their troops in indirect ways (lowering combat capabilities of enemies), instead of just dealing out insane damage
    5. This allows cavalry charges to easily cripple enemies they run into
    6. This should buff infantry with longer weapons a bit, as they'll be able to slow their enemies a lot more
  5. Shields will become unusable after a certain amount of arrows, bolts and javelins are stuck in it
    1. A shield can only hold up to a certain amount of stuck arrows, bolts and javelins, before it becomes too heavy to hold up, and it is forcefully dropped
    2. This should allow units with throwing weapons some extra power against shielded infantry, as the balance changes shift the power dynamic from archers to heavy infantry
  6. Damage dealt is now in some proportion to current health
    1. As a unit takes more damage, their ability to deal damage goes down. A unit that's heavily wounded should not be able to fight as well as a soldier who isn't wounded at all.
    2. Proposed changes are:
      1. Damage dealt ranges from 100% (100% hp) to 60% (0% hp), based on health missing.
      2. Weapon profficiencies reduce from 100% (100% hp) to 60% (0%), based on health missing
    3. Archers that are wounded should no longer be able to aim accurately
  7. AI infantry focuses on playing defensively
    1. Right now the AI fights aggressively, with no fear of death
    2. Until some proper morale system is established, AI foot soldiers should fight a little more conservatively and less aggressive
    3. Exceptions apply to berserker and "wild" troops such as:
      1. Huskarls
      2. Berserkers
      3. Battanian elite infantry
  8. Formation routing
    1. Formations should rout, regroup and fight back, thus proloning the battle in some cases, but also rewarding players that use proper flanking tactics.
    2. Weak infantry with no spears or polearms should rout and run when getting chased by cavalry
    3. Weak and recruits infantry with spears and polearms only rout when getting charged by a few heavy cavalry
    4. Routing should be done whereby the perceived strength of an incoming group of soldiers is more than the group's perceived strength
    5. Bandits and peasants should have the lowest morale, and are likely to rout, when things don't appear to go their way
    6. General soldiers and mercernaries are the next group with standard morale
    7. Elite soldiers that are heavily armored and the next group with excellent morale, and are less likely to rout
    8. Fearless men, such as berserkers and wild battanian troops have the highest morale and almost under no circumstances never rout
  9. Troops fight agressively or defensively based on morale and the battle state
    1. If troops think they are winning or can win, they'll fight a bit more aggressive
    2. If troops think they are losing or need to hold out, they'll fight a bit more defensive
    3. Troops should fight more aggressively if their enemies are being flanked (hammer and anvil strategy)
    4. Troops should panic and are more likely to rout and lose cohesion if they are surrounded
    5. Innate aggressiveness or defensiveness is based on an army's perceived strength and the enemy's perceived strength, with cavalry and heavy infantry contributing more to "perceived strength" than archers and peasants
Weapons
  1. Spears are more better on foot
    1. Right now, the most ubiquitous weapon in history, the spear, is somehow underpowered
    2. Proposed changes are:
      1. Short spears thrust for 50% more damage, and are 30% more faster to thrust

Sieges (World map)
Sieges do not currently reflect how sieges were in real life. As of right now, sieges are all heavily favored to the attackers. In history, a castle of 100 men should be able to hold off an attacking force of 200-300 men, defeating forces about 2-3 times as much. This doesn't happen in Bannerlord, and defenders lose against an attacking army with even 50 more soldiers than them. Attackers being able to capture castles easily also contributes to the snowballing problem.
  1. Defenders should allow to surrender
    1. If the defenders feel they cannot defend the castle easily, they may offer to surrender the castle in exchange for safe passage
      1. Killing them will result in a loss of honor
  2. Defenders in the castle, and those waiting around the enemy siege camp, can have options to raid the siege camp
    1. They can take a small number of men and attempt to burn part of the enemy siege camp, to disrupt them, potentially killing some soldiers, but mainly to disrupt siege engine build progress and to burn some their food
      1. The success of the mission is based upon a companion's roguery skill, and a small band of elite units (higher tier = higher chance of success)
    2. A castle or town with a secret passage upgrade built increases the number of troops you can bring to this mission, and thus increases the survivability
    3. Doing this from a castle has a low chance of success, but the chance of success is more higher from a defending army outside of the castle
  3. Attackers in the siege camp require more food and morale
    1. Sieging is always a stressful thing to do, especially for the soldiers. It's a very hard task and there will be lots of bloodshed. Soldiers will need to be fed properly to keep them in good physical and mental condition, otherwise their hunger may make them realise the potential hell they'll be walking into.
    2. Food uptake of attacking troops is increased by 50% whilst sieging a castle/town.
    3. This should make sieges more difficult, and helps prevent snowballing.
  4. Disgruntled citizens that are loyal to the attackers may open the gates
    1. This adds more depth, whereby if citizens hate their current rulers, they may choose to make it easier for the attacking army to easily storm into the castle and take it.
    2. If this is done, there will be no enemies manning the walls, they will all spawn somewhere far enough in the town, and have to move to the gate and the walls to fight off the attackers.
      1. This gives time for the attackers to walk in without having to climb ladders or break the door down, and not have to fight anyone, until they are inside the castle.
    3. There may be some "sympathizers", which will be some of the enemy troops that are allies. These troops will guard the open gate with their lives, and wait until the attacking army gets inside. Typically they may die. You can consider these as the troops who opened the gates to let in the attackers.
    4. While this allows an option for attackers to easily take a castle (thus adding to the snowball problem), this will only typically occur in situations where the attacker is reclaiming a castle/town that was taken from them. So this will make it easier for kingdoms to claim back their original castles and towns.
  5. Lords and player can try to sneak out from the castle
    1. If a lord wants to be a chicken, they can escape a castle that's being sieged with some of their troops (the rest will not be able to escape)
      1. There may be a chance they and some of their men can get caught
      2. Uses tactics, cunning and athletics and riding skills
      3. Lowers relations with the castle or town
      4. Lowers relations with other lords stuck in the castle/town you abandon
      5. Lowers honor and reknown
      6. Increases controversy (if they add this)
      7. Increases the lord's reputation for being dishonorable and a for being a chicken
    2. Factors that help:
      1. Sneaking out at night
      2. Innate "complexity" of the town/castle (this is just some value set for each fiet)
        1. Towns/castles surrounded by trees and hills have high complexity, whereas a town/castle in the steppes have low complexity, and thus would be much more harder to escape from, undetected
      3. Number of men you attempt to sneak out with
        1. The more you try to sneak out with, the lower your chances of escape
        2. The more men you abandon and leave in the castle, the more hate you get
          1. Loss of honor, relations and increased controversy, loss of morale
      4. Troop levels of the men you attempt to sneak out with
        1. Expert troops are obviously better at sneaking out, whereas a peasant might trip on a rock and ruin your escape
      5. Tactics, cunning, athletics and riding skills and some perks (if they are relevant)

Sieges (Battle)
Sieges do not currently reflect how sieges were in real life. As of right now, sieges are all heavily favored to the attackers. In history, a castle of 100 men should be able to hold off an attacking force of 200-300 men, defeating forces about 2-3 times as much. This doesn't happen in Bannerlord, and defenders lose against an attacking army with even 50 more soldiers than them. Attackers being able to capture castles easily also contributes to the snowballing problem.
  1. Attacker's siege weapons move more slower and less effective
    1. Changes to siege weapons include:
      1. Rams will move 20% more slower
      2. Siege towers will move 40% more slower
      3. Attacker's siege weapons will now be 15% more inaccurate
        1. Attackers aren't exactly in their home territory, and aren't entirely knowledgeable on the land that they're in
        2. For more depth, an attacker with an expert siege engineer can bypass this debuff
      4. Defender's siege weapons will now be 10% more accurate
        1. Defenders have their home field advantage and know the lay of their lands more better, and thus are more likely to know where their rocks are landing when launched from a catapult
    2. This should help the defenders out a bit more
    3. The battle will also be prolonged a bit more, given that it'll take a lot longer for the gate and the walls to be breached
  2. Attacking units on the ladder deal less damage and climb slower
    1. Swinging a weapon doesn't just involve using your arm, it also involves using your torso and legs
    2. Having your legs and one arm on a ladder should not allow you to deal full damage with your right hand
    3. The proposed changes are:
      1. Units while climbing a ladder deal 60% less damage and have 10% less reach
      2. Climbing speed is slowed by 15%
  3. Defenders should have more archers and more rocks to throw from the battlements
    1. Some towns do not currently spawn archers in towers, and thus need to spawn archers that are typically further away from the main gate, but can still shoot arrows into the attacking force at a safe distance
    2. More archers should man the walls
    3. Add a small pile of rocks on the walls that some infantry or peasants can use, to throw on an attacking army
      1. This should increase the killing power of the defenders, where more peasants can easily kill heavily armored soldiers with just a rock
  4. Attacking units have less profficiency
    1. Because attackers are fighting in enemy territory, they will feel less confident in their abilities to fight
    2. Proposed changes for attackers are:
      1. 10% reduction in all melee stats
      2. 15% reduction in all ranged stats
  5. The gate should have more health
    1. The gate should have double it's current health, to make it last more longer, giving defenders on the walls more opportunity to kill the attackers before they get breached

Castle Upgrades (In map)
  1. Outpost/Watchtower
    1. This increases the number of units you can have in a patrol
  2. Secret Passage
    1. Allows a secret passage, where troops inside the castle can sneak out, to raid an attacker's siege camp, or to run away from a siege with some of your troops
      1. Increases the chances of successfully raiding an attacker's siege camp, with troops from within a castle that's being sieged
      2. Increases the chances and number of troops a lord can run away with, from a castle siege
  3. Wall Plastering
    1. Makes the walls of castles made of bricks look more smoother, giving it a more nicer appearance. Increases prosperity and morale.
      1. This is a very expensive upgrade and should typically be reserved as the last thing a lord should do to upgrade the castle)

Castles (In field)
  1. Personal chest or storage room
    1. Like in warband, you could have a small stash where you could put anything inside it
    2. Here you can safely deposit some special items and money that you don't want being taken from you, incase you lose a battle out in the field
  2. Guards watching the castle
    1. For more immersion, there should be troops in the garrison watching over the walls and the gates of the castle
  3. Well
    1. A well should be added so that castles look like they have reserve drinking water for sieges

Diplomacy
Some of these suggestions make kingdom management and diplomacy more better to play, allowing players more various playstyles.
  1. Offering Tributes to other factions for peace
    1. For players that wish to become independent, holding your first castle isn't easy. There should be an option to pay tribute to a larger faction, where there will be a peace treaty and they won't declare war on you.
    2. You'd better be rich enough, as the terms definitely won't benefit you, but it is one way to help keep your sovereignty while you start small.
    3. If you seem weak, other factions may try to also squeeze as much as they can from you. It won't be easy nor feasible to pay tribute to multiple factions at the same time, so you'll have to be prepared to defend your castle with force, against those you cannot pay off.
    4. Some factions may ask for tribute in the form of:
      1. Money
      2. Specific resources (e.g. food, metal, horses, weapons)
      3. Men and women
    5. Forcefully giving away men and women (farmers, peasants, soldiers) as tribute will obviously lower your relations with the towns and villages you take them from
  2. Offer your kingdom as a Vassal state to another faction
    1. You'll still have a lot of autonomy within your faction, but you'll have to commit more to warfare with the faction you're joined up with.
    2. It may be worse or better in different situations, compared to just offering tribute.
      1. The likelihood that the faction your a vassal of will betray you will be lower, compared to just offering tribute

Final notes
These changes aren't final, and I'm always welcome for constructive criticism and other ideas that I may have missed.

I hope TaleWorlds sees this thread and takes inspiration so that they can improve the game and make it even more better during this Early Release.
 

Moonweb

Recruit
Some good suggestions here, though it is usually better to create separate threads for suggestions, to prevent them snowballing into realms for which no code currently exists. Improvement suggestions are always good but be wary of dreaming up new mechanics and writing them down as improvements; not everyone will agree.
 

ShotgunJed

Recruit
WBNWVC
Some good suggestions here, though it is usually better to create separate threads for suggestions, to prevent them snowballing into realms for which no code currently exists. Improvement suggestions are always good but be wary of dreaming up new mechanics and writing them down as improvements; not everyone will agree.

I can understand that for some players, they may not wish new mechanics, but this game is still early access. The mechanics I try to suggest hopefully keep the original flavour of the game, as is my philosophy with these changes. I don't think I suggested anything that's too annoying to deal with, and if some of my changes make the game require a little bit more brainpower (e.g. having to actually position archers properly instead of always sitting behind infantry), then players can always lower the difficulty and not get punished as much, if they so choose to play the way they want to play it
 
Allow settings to adjust game speed
  1. For players who do not wish to play through generations (only 1 character), there should be an option to make years in game take longer, so that the player doesn't age as quickly
I made the case for a slider that would let years be longer or shorter - for those who also prefer faster games / have real world commitments preventing them dedicating tens of hours to a single playthrough to see it all through.

And I go into the times/maths involved with all of that here:
https://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php?threads/year-length-slider-on-game-start.409741/
 
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