Should recruits have shields?

Should some recruits have shields?


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Bluko88

Sergeant
So something that has bugged me for a long time is the general ineffectiveness of recruits. Now I get it; they are recruits, lowest of the low for the military units, and not supposed to be much better than peasants. But the sad truth is actual peasants are probably better fighters then recruits are in-game (peasants have the wonderful throwing rock).

They basically amount to cannon fodder in any battles where there are large amounts of archers. Now I'm not saying let's give recruits more Skills and Armor to make them effective fighters. I can deal with the fact that they aren't going to do well in melee or anything really except in large numbers. But it's pretty frustrating, especially for those just starting out, to get completely decimated by bandit archer parties. Even when you have numerical superiority, simply because you don't have any tier 2 units with shields you'll be screwed. Nevermind in larger field battles and sieges recruits just get absolutely obliterated by archers - which begs the question why even bring them?

This would kind of be a non-issue if there was a to train up lower tier troops somewhat quickly, but there isn't. You basically got to waste time fighting looters (which is just a chore beyond very early game) or hope enough survive to level up, but even then you're going to lose so many you'll have to go back and get more recruits to replace all the recruits that died. It's damn near an endless cycle trying to get your party back up to full strength. It also hurts A.I. Lords a lot in battle since when they rebuild their parties they will have tremendous amounts of useless recruits units. An easy win for the player usually sure, but also not very rewarding.

I've kind of gotten to the point where I just simply don't get recruits anymore and wait for any tier 2 or higher units to show up in recruitment pools. But that's not ideal either since you won't always have the good fortune of that happening. So either you wait for better units to populate or grab a bunch of useless recruits.

My proposition is simple:
Give 2/5ths or 1/3rd of all recruit units a shield for some extra survivability
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I've already tested this some and as you will see it does not exactly wildly empower recruits. It simply gives them a fighting chance. And again most still wouldn't have shields, so you will still have a fair number of targets as it were. Just to illustrate here's tier 1 Imperial Recruits vs tier 2 Imperial Archers before and after

100 Imperial Recruits (no shields) vs 100 Imperial Archers

100 Imperial Recruits (with shields) vs 100 Imperial Archers

*Strangely with shields recruits do worse against other melee units somewhat, though I suspect this mainly has to with me taking away the scythe and replacing it with a spear.
 

Ni

Sergeant
M&BWBWF&SVC
I don't know about giving them shields, although I suppose if we were going to be realistic, some recruits would fashion a weak shield out of something, even if it was just a barrel lid.

If we had the ability to assign troops into different formations (like we used to) in the party menu this would solve a lot of problems. Get a bunch of recruits and go after looters, then when they leveled up to having a shield, create a second infantry unit with the recruits and just have the "experienced" ones stand in front and take the brunt of the damage on their shields as they all advance.

I did laugh/grimace when I told my infantry to form a shield wall and half the infantry with shields was in the second rank leaving a lot of recruits in the front rank .... with no shield :mrgreen:
 

Chest Hunter

Recruit
Bruh they're farmers you've just picked up from a village why would they have shields? You think medieval peasants had shields and spears lying around on their lord's farm? My sides are in orbit, if you don't like peasants then upgrade them. Don't wanna upgrade them? Hire mercenaries. This is a non-issue and a problem you've created for yourself. As if you genuinely believe your 10 gold hiring fee buys your peasant a soldier's equipment. Jesus. Lmao ty for the laugh
Waaaaaaaaaaaah my peasant farmers are peasants waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah so unfair
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
This would kind of be a non-issue if there was a to train up lower tier troops somewhat quickly, but there isn't.
There is a perk to donate gear that will basically boosh them to tier 2 instantly.

I'm against giving them shields because by time the late game rolls around the last thing on Earth the game needs is survivable Tier 1 troops who can be fielded in abundance. Let losing trained armies hurt.
 
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danEN

On probation
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Bruh they're farmers you've just picked up from a village why would they have shields? You think medieval peasants had shields and spears lying around on their lord's farm? My sides are in orbit, if you don't like peasants then upgrade them. Don't wanna upgrade them? Hire mercenaries. This is a non-issue and a problem you've created for yourself. As if you genuinely believe your 10 gold hiring fee buys your peasant a soldier's equipment. Jesus. Lmao ty for the laugh
Waaaaaaaaaaaah my peasant farmers are peasants waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah so unfair
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five bucks

Knight at Arms
I personally like that they don't have shields because it adds to the sense of progression, for you to see them start off with basically nothing and work their way up to having a full complement of gear.

It also feels weird that a guy training to be an archer at T2 has to train with a shield for a brief period of time, then immediately throw it away. At least most troops use their one-handed weapon forever.

It would also make the troop rosters feel less unique for every single recruit in the game to be carrying a shield. There are already too many shields in battles.

Recruits being squishy dudes that T5/T6 troops can kill easily is a good thing (to a reasonable degree- Khan's Guard mowing down a thousand is too much). It's satisfying to have high tier troops do well against low tier ones, otherwise there is not much diffrerence between tiers.
They basically amount to cannon fodder in any battles where there are large amounts of archers.
Rather than giving recruits shields, I would prefer to fix that by making their existing armor 1.7x more effective. Also, I would make them reach T2 a little bit quicker.

Really, they *should* be cannon fodder. Who else in the game is a better candidate than the guys who you just recruited and haven't trained yet?
 
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I don't mind giving some recruits very flimsy shields. Tier 1 troops should be a meagre upgrade to tier 0 peasant troops, which they aren't right now, a shield would probably give them the edge.
It also feels weird that a guy training to be an archer at T2 has to train with a shield for a brief period of time, then immediately throw it away. At least most troops use their one-handed weapon forever.
Tbh I would feel the same if recruits had any remarkable skills or training to begin with, maybe recruits should have a large variety of troop loadouts like looters (which have 14 iirc) with one having a polearm, another a sword & board and another with more throwing, etc. and start with rounded proficiencies. It actually feels weirder to me that imperial units have to train 2 tiers as archers to be able to transition to crossbow units. It feels stupid to see crossbow, a tool which requires much less training than a bow to be deadly (though someone more knowledgeable should tell me if this is true or not) is obtained after 2 tiers of training with a bow. It should be the other way around imo.
Rather than giving recruits shields, I would prefer to fix that by making their existing armor 1.7x more effective. Also, I would make them reach T2 a little bit quicker.
Armor should definitely be more effective against ranged damage/ranged damage should be nerfed. But would increasing the effectiveness of T1 troops' armor effectiveness really do anything at all? They have average chest armor of what, 3 or 5, and no head armor (and arm and leg armor are probably 1-2). I'm genuinely curious if increasing the armor effectiveness of recruits against missiles would change anything regarding their survival, do tell me if you've tested it.
 
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Ongay1

Recruit
I think more low tier clothing armor would be better for variety. Otherwise no shields for recruits.
 

LyonExodus

Veteran
i think a terrible shield (20hp) for any recruit with a 1H weapon is fine. It's enough to not sustain any fire for long while also be useful against higher tiers.
Then any other 2H weapon template can be left with no shield at all, maybe rocks might do.

@Bluko88 have you tried giving the recruits shields like these? i'd like to know how they might perform against some standing archers while charging.

As always thanks for the tests and insights. it's funny how giving them shields but taking away some good weapons like the scythe actually would make them worse
 

five bucks

Knight at Arms
Armor should definitely be more effective against ranged damage/ranged damage should be nerfed. But would increasing the effectiveness of T1 troops' armor effectiveness really do anything at all? They have average chest armor of what, 3 or 5, and no head armor (and arm and leg armor are probably 1-2). I'm genuinely curious if increasing the armor effectiveness of recruits against missiles would change anything regarding their survival, do tell me if you've tested it.
Probably very little in terms of HTK from full health, maybe increasing general survivability from long-range shots. So yes, not much impact. But my position is that that's desirable, because recruits you literally grabbed off a farm an hour ago should be cannon fodder.

I would support giving T1 troops a stack of rocks in some of their loadouts, so they aren't a downgrade from looters.
 
Tbh I would feel the same if recruits had any remarkable skills or training to begin with, maybe recruits should have a large variety of troop loadouts like looters (which have 14 iirc) with one having a polearm, another a sword & board and another with more throwing, etc. and start with rounded proficiencies.

This is a pretty good idea I think. It would make them good as a mass of flexible but ****e reserves who can do almost anything very poorly. Then specialist troops would lose that flexibility. Hey, just like warband!

I have never liked the idea that high tiers should just automatically steamroll lower tiers, it's extremely boring. Sure it feels fun in the moment to crunch through 1000 recruits with a small army, but it is terrible for replayability and pacing. I would actually like a situation where recruit spam is a viable component of some army compositions
 

Bluko88

Sergeant
Bruh they're farmers you've just picked up from a village why would they have shields? You think medieval peasants had shields and spears lying around on their lord's farm? My sides are in orbit, if you don't like peasants then upgrade them. Don't wanna upgrade them? Hire mercenaries. This is a non-issue and a problem you've created for yourself. As if you genuinely believe your 10 gold hiring fee buys your peasant a soldier's equipment. Jesus. Lmao ty for the laugh
Waaaaaaaaaaaah my peasant farmers are peasants waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah so unfair
Oh IDK I just assume someone who volunteers to join a warband would want to bring some wargear. At least a basic axe, helmet, or a simple spear if they were truly broke. (Pretty sure historically in some countries levies were expected to be appropriately armed for war)

Generally speaking you do not want to send untrained and unequipped people to war. But like I said there's no training/equipping process. So what? Does the quartermaster just conveniently forget to hand out weapons til they kill a dude? Why am I forced to play as some petty Lord that constantly sends "farmers" to die in the hopes I get a small handful of survivors that can use a shield or bow?


And like I said there are already Peasants in-game as tier 0 troops. If Recruits and Peasants are more or less the same, why the difference in tier? Except Peasants are kind of better than Recruits, which makes the "upgrade" rather questionable.

I just think Recruits should be at least equal to Looters (what are Looters anyways? Homeless people?) They should definitely be a step up from Peasants, but as is Recruits are pretty much the worst unit in game, worse than Peasants and Looters LOL.

There is a perk to donate gear that will basically boosh them to tier 2 instantly.

I'm against giving them shields because by time the late game rolls around the last thing on Earth the game needs is survivable Tier 1 troops who can be fielded in abundance. Let losing trained armies hurt.
Yes, I know - but that's after a battle. After they probably got a number of themselves killed.

Again Pre-OOB this worked since you could assign Recruits to their own formation, keep em out of actual harm. But now you basically got to feed them through a meat grinder constantly. It's dumb and tedious.

They aren't really that survivable, they just aren't totally free XP for archers. Don't think because they have shield they are going to better in melee, trust me they aren't - low melee skill = no existent blocking. Again only some have shields, most wouldn't, so they'd still be easy pickings.

Losing trained armies doesn't hurt anyways. Unless you religiously micro a small clan army, you'll rarely have a solid elite army. Yes sometimes you do, but it's all very circumstantial. Pretty sure even with armor buff you can conquer Calradia with enough Looters:

Honestly this training mod is a must have for me:

i think a terrible shield (20hp) for any recruit with a 1H weapon is fine. It's enough to not sustain any fire for long while also be useful against higher tiers.
Then any other 2H weapon template can be left with no shield at all, maybe rocks might do.

@Bluko88 have you tried giving the recruits shields like these? i'd like to know how they might perform against some standing archers while charging.

As always thanks for the tests and insights. it's funny how giving them shields but taking away some good weapons like the scythe actually would make them worse
I gave them the weak shields from tournaments or other junky shields (thought that was apparent in screenshot). All the shields my modded recruits have are 200 HP or less, so they really can't stand up to prolonged arrow fire, much less thrown weapons.

The problem with the scythe is it's like any swinging polearm - it does a lot of damage. It's actually the reason Recruits/Peasants are better at killing higher tier units than their T2 or T3 counterparts.

Again my goal is to make recruits more "survivable", so they can get trained up. Not necessarily make them better fighters/killers. Shields let them survive against archers, spears make sure they aren't roadkill for cavalry (seriously recruits/levies would almost entirely be wielding spears, but again is a game).


I'm kind of deliberating if Looters need to be a nerfed a teeny bit (less Falchions), also their skill is more comparable to actual T2 units. Peasants probably shouldn't have so many scythes.
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
Losing trained armies doesn't hurt anyways. Unless you religiously micro a small clan army, you'll rarely have a solid elite army. Yes sometimes you do, but it's all very circumstantial. Pretty sure even with armor buff you can conquer Calradia with enough Looters:
I'm taking about the AI: the last thing I want is the army they scraped together in two days after I killed off 3000 of their men to be at all usable in contesting my (now beaten-up) army.
Yes, I know - but that's after a battle. After they probably got a number of themselves killed.

Again Pre-OOB this worked since you could assign Recruits to their own formation, keep em out of actual harm. But now you basically got to feed them through a meat grinder constantly. It's dumb and tedious.
I can't say I have that experience: between archers, improved cav and shieldwall formation putting shieldless dudes towards the back, I can usually mop up a village militia or small lord party for the XP.
 

five bucks

Knight at Arms
Let's explore the reasons why some people want shields for recruits.

* It would make lowest-tier troops survive battles longer so that they can upgrade without dying. (This reason could be accomplished by simply making T1 level up a little faster).

* Finding it unimmersive that fresh recruit volunteers didn't bring a full set of equipment with them.

* Peasants are possibly better fighters than recruits due to having rocks. (This can be fixed without shields by giving some recruit loadouts rocks).

So that leaves about 1 reason to add shields to recruits.



And the reasons why some people don't:

* It reduces the sense of progression in the game. Recruits already having shields makes the T1>T2 jump much less noticeable and makes them closer to T5 troops in effectiveness.

* It makes lowest-tier troops, who are supposed to be weak cannon fodder due to the whole nature of the tier system, not be weak cannon fodder. The problem is that then enemies whose armies you have wiped become more effective because their recruit spam can eat lots of your arrows now as Apocal said. Giving a unit a shield automatically makes it much better.

* It would make troop rosters less unique for every single recruit to have a shield. Battlefields would look much more homogenous with even more shields everywhere on every culture.

* Finding it unimmersive that every single potential recruit in Calradia in every culture happened to already own a shield before being recruited (a military-grade item with no civilian use). If shields are so common why don't looters have them?

That leaves 4 reasons to not do it.



On this balance of for and against, I think it's best to keep the status quo of recruits having no shields in the vanilla game. Let people mod recruit shields in if they want to - OP already knows how, as one example.
 

Chest Hunter

Recruit
Oh IDK I just assume someone who volunteers to join a warband would want to bring some wargear. At least a basic axe, helmet, or a simple spear if they were truly broke. (Pretty sure historically in some countries levies were expected to be appropriately armed for war)

Generally speaking you do not want to send untrained and unequipped people to war. But like I said there's no training/equipping process. So what? Does the quartermaster just conveniently forget to hand out weapons til they kill a dude? Why am I forced to play as some petty Lord that constantly sends "farmers" to die in the hopes I get a small handful of survivors that can use a shield or bow?


And like I said there are already Peasants in-game as tier 0 troops. If Recruits and Peasants are more or less the same, why the difference in tier? Except Peasants are kind of better than Recruits, which makes the "upgrade" rather questionable.

I just think Recruits should be at least equal to Looters (what are Looters anyways? Homeless people?) They should definitely be a step up from Peasants, but as is Recruits are pretty much the worst unit in game, worse than Peasants and Looters LOL.


Yes, I know - but that's after a battle. After they probably got a number of themselves killed.

Again Pre-OOB this worked since you could assign Recruits to their own formation, keep em out of actual harm. But now you basically got to feed them through a meat grinder constantly. It's dumb and tedious.

They aren't really that survivable, they just aren't totally free XP for archers. Don't think because they have shield they are going to better in melee, trust me they aren't - low melee skill = no existent blocking. Again only some have shields, most wouldn't, so they'd still be easy pickings.

Losing trained armies doesn't hurt anyways. Unless you religiously micro a small clan army, you'll rarely have a solid elite army. Yes sometimes you do, but it's all very circumstantial. Pretty sure even with armor buff you can conquer Calradia with enough Looters:

Honestly this training mod is a must have for me:


I gave them the weak shields from tournaments or other junky shields (thought that was apparent in screenshot). All the shields my modded recruits have are 200 HP or less, so they really can't stand up to prolonged arrow fire, much less thrown weapons.

The problem with the scythe is it's like any swinging polearm - it does a lot of damage. It's actually the reason Recruits/Peasants are better at killing higher tier units than their T2 or T3 counterparts.

Again my goal is to make recruits more "survivable", so they can get trained up. Not necessarily make them better fighters/killers. Shields let them survive against archers, spears make sure they aren't roadkill for cavalry (seriously recruits/levies would almost entirely be wielding spears, but again is a game).


I'm kind of deliberating if Looters need to be a nerfed a teeny bit (less Falchions), also their skill is more comparable to actual T2 units. Peasants probably shouldn't have so many scythes.
"All the shields my modded recruits have are 200 HP or less" Are you giving them a 2 handed greatsword while you're at it?
Bruh
"Why am I forced to play as some petty Lord that constantly sends "farmers" to die" lmao because that's what lords did, ty for the laugh again. I don't mean to be rude but the delusion is palpable.
Inb4 another random gif pertaining to your confirmation bias

Blessed Taleworlds, the world drowns in delusion. Your forum is aflame with heresy. The faithful perish and the wicked multiply. Blessed Taleworlds, lend me your strength. Grant me the will to purge the corrupt, to smite the heretic, to bring logic when logic is lost. By the Mount and the Blade, I pledge to the coming battle. I vow not to waver and never retreat, to stand tall against the flames of perdition, to drive back the shadow of delusion with your holy light.
 
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I'd rather see t1 left quickly and early. Basically a literal fresh phase where you just pick up some guys and will ideally spend the day inducting them, arming them and training them.

Otherwise they should just be literal cannon fodder that might be good enough to swamp stronger guys.
 

sh1ny4

Sergeant
I would disagree on giving tier one units a shield as it is in my opinion a way to balance factions: some factions get a shield at tier 2 whereas some get it at tier 3, making them more vulnerable at earlier levels.
It would also coincide with what little lore we have : aserai have weak shields while sturgian have stong shields, so having the aserais get a shied at tier 3 wihle sturgian get it at tier 2 would be logical (although TW didn't do it sadly)
It would make sense for a lightly armored faction to have fewer shields and at later tiers compared to a heavy armored one.
 
Let's explore the reasons why some people want shields for recruits.

* It would make lowest-tier troops survive battles longer so that they can upgrade without dying. (This reason could be accomplished by simply making T1 level up a little faster).

* Finding it unimmersive that fresh recruit volunteers didn't bring a full set of equipment with them.

* Peasants are possibly better fighters than recruits due to having rocks. (This can be fixed without shields by giving some recruit loadouts rocks).

So that leaves about 1 reason to add shields to recruits.



And the reasons why some people don't:

* It reduces the sense of progression in the game. Recruits already having shields makes the T1>T2 jump much less noticeable and makes them closer to T5 troops in effectiveness.

* It makes lowest-tier troops, who are supposed to be weak cannon fodder due to the whole nature of the tier system, not be weak cannon fodder. The problem is that then enemies whose armies you have wiped become more effective because their recruit spam can eat lots of your arrows now as Apocal said. Giving a unit a shield automatically makes it much better.

* It would make troop rosters less unique for every single recruit to have a shield. Battlefields would look much more homogenous with even more shields everywhere on every culture.

* Finding it unimmersive that every single potential recruit in Calradia in every culture happened to already own a shield before being recruited (a military-grade item with no civilian use). If shields are so common why don't looters have them?

That leaves 4 reasons to not do it.



On this balance of for and against, I think it's best to keep the status quo of recruits having no shields in the vanilla game. Let people mod recruit shields in if they want to - OP already knows how, as one example.

You missed out the big one: It's grindy. Less than half of your recruits survive if you actually use them, effectively doubling the amount of men you have to run around collecting. This wouldn't be so bad if the game didn't force you to kill about 100,000 enemies per campaign. It also wouldn't be so bad if the game didn't force you (via the OoB system and the way XP works) to throw them into battles and die.

tl;dr the campaign mechanics don't acknowledge that recruits are the worst unit in the game. They either have to change the pacing of the campaign, or give recruits something more than a single sword.
 
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