Silverstag Plus - For those who want native style branching Troop Trees - A small contribution

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StormLightning

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Silverstag Plus - Silverstag Branching Troop Tree Micro-submod

A micro-submod of Silverstag 0.26 for Warband.
Copy the .txt files to ..\modules\silverstag (cinematic)\
and replace the files. Backup if you prefer to do so.

There are only a few changes in the files.

1. It now has an old-style Troop Tree. I've reworked the troop tree so the
player can upgrade to different troop types. It is based on Windyplains'
and Leifdin's work, and uses their troop sets. Note: The troops are
somewhat expensive to upgrade, but you will get (almost) all the troops,
including most Uniques. The cost is still lower than in-game direct-buy
prices for the corresponding troop levels for high-end and special troops.

2. Requires more XP to upgrade units compared to vanilla Silverstag 0.26 to
compensate for being able to access all the troops through upgrades.

3. Fixed the Gaoler select menu from Assign Party Roles so you can now see
all the companions including yourself.

4. A few minor changes to menus and presentations.

5. Garrison recruiting was not working properly for me, so I've tried to fix that.
It works as it should now, for split queues up to two choices

6. Added rubik's Map code to be able to view a political map of Calradia.
It helps me look at the big picture, especially once I get castles and towns.

7. Have made Tier 1 & 2 recruits unaffiliated for all kingdoms. This will allow
easier access to lower level troops in the early game.

Please start a new game to see all the changes. Old saves won't show the
change in affiliations, thus not allowing the best game-play experience.

My sincere thanks to Windyplains
(whom I am in awe of for the quality of
his work) and Leifdin and the rest of the Silverstag team.

Please do try the submod and also offer your feedback if you can spare the time.

Thanks and Regards,
StormLightning


Download Link - http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=95812885151486636371
Now on Nexus Mods - https://www.nexusmods.com/mbwarband/mods/6273


PS The Silverstag team have posted that all are welcome to modify the
original mod if they like, and this is my two bits towards that.
 
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Amun-Ra

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I'm currently trying Silverstag for the first time and have some frustration with the current system, but want to give it a fair shot. I would like to try your submod as well in a future play-through.

I think estimating interest from replies here alone could be very misleading, as I've seen a number of people comment on the lack of troop trees in Silverstag being a dealbreaker for them. Those people are probably not reading this board (maybe create a Reddit post about this on reddit.com/r/mountandblade/).

Please create an upload for it on nexusmods, moddb, and other places. Think of those in the future who might not see your post after it's scrolled off the front page of this board. Or those who see it months from now, who might not bother to ask, thinking that you might no longer be reading. I saw this post for the first time over 10 days after you made it and after you concluded a lack of interest. I'm positive there's interest in this, but those who are won't likely see your post. Do what you can to make it easy to find - so that when people search for "silverstag troop tree" your submod comes up.

This might not be an issue, but from reading your description, something that I wonder about is the cost of upgrades.

There are two kinds of costs - financial and time. The costs for base units in Silverstag's current system are high to compensate for being able to buy high level units right away instead of spending time to level them. The reverse is true of the default game - lower costs because it takes time to get units to a high level.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your description, but if it costs the same or higher to upgrade units (change #1) AND it takes more time to get there (change #2), it sounds a bit punishing. If anything, the costs should be lower to compensate for the longer time it takes to reach higher troop levels and the time (exp required) should be comparable to what's in the default game.
 

StormLightning

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Thank you, Amun-Ra, for your kind words of encouragement and guidance. I appreciate you taking
the time to say what you did.

Regarding the cost of upgrades, I'll try to explain my reasoning.

Native gameplay upgrades troops so fast that once you have a high trainer skill, you can literally upgrade your
Village Recruit to an elite Knight inside a game week. This is unreasonable for two reasons:
1. It's illogical that a recruit should turn into an elite troop so quickly, even assuming one in-game day is the
    same as a month of real time.
2. It takes very little time for your party of freshly recruited villagers to turn into a top-level party, so it's
    basically playing with one or two levels of troops all the time i.e. always the same strategy.

To force a little change in that approach, and to keep the options more in line with Silverstag's design of having
different level troops, I've increased the XP cost a little to make the game take about 2-3 weeks of in-game time
(including fighting and the associated XP gain for kills) for a Swadian Supplyman to upgrade all the way to a top
level 40 Elite Praven Knight. It's not such a big delay, and it makes a little more sense to me.

Also I would like to mention that I have not taken out the troop design made by the Silverstag team. That's not
doable without rewriting a lot of code that is beyond my skills. What I've done is supplement Silverstag's troop
system with an upgrade path for the player's troops. So you can buy troops directly off the market, or you can
skill them up by upgrades. For this to make sense, I have to have the costs of troops near the original buys,
otherwise the player would get troops too cheap and would unbalance the original design, which was not my
intention. As it stands now, I pay about 2725 denars for an Elite Praven Knight upgrade from it's previous tier.
And my purchase cost in-game is about 1850 denars if I dismiss my veteran troop and buy a regular Praven
Knight (not Veteran or Elite). The in-game cost for Elite Praven Knight is showing as over 3300 denars.

So, to compensate for the XP cost, and the upgrade path, the troops are working out at about 20-30% cheaper
overall, plus available without having to grind the relations and allegiances, etc. From what I've played so far, it
feels pretty much like Native gameplay, except the names are different, and the XP and cash costs are way higher
and somewhat in line with the Silverstag design. So - You can either hire troops of all the types directly from the
centers, and not upgrade them as per the new branched trees I've made. Or, just buy the cheapest peasant recruits
and level them up with time and patience, and denars, ofc. You get the best of both the play styles.

The only thing missing is that some of the troops will skip levels of upgrades if you go the direct buy and play way
i.e. they won't upgrade from regular to veteran to elite. If you do upgrade them, you might skip a level or end up
with a different troop type of a higher level. I've tried to keep it as sensible as I could without changing the troops
designed by the Siverstag team.

Okay, that's long enough. I hope my wall of text makes sense. Thanks once again for your interest and encouragement.

Cheers!

PS Corrected my main post to more accurately reflect that the troop cost is a bit less overall.

Edit: Changed the calculations of cost as per corrected numbers in-game. Please offer feedback on this.
 

Amun-Ra

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Thanks for sharing your reasoning and clarifying how your submod works.

I didn't realize Silverstag's current system would still be in place. Since that's the case I understand and agree with your reasoning with the upgrade costs. I really like that this is an addition to the current system rather than a replacement. While I like the troop tree, it also didn't make sense that in vanilla you couldn't directly hire more powerful troops (outside of rescues).

Also, since you can still directly buy higher tier units, the training time makes sense. In terms of gameplay, I'd have to try it out to see how the progression feels.

Something I'm unclear about is how progression works now.

The only thing missing is that some of the troops will skip levels of upgrades if you go the direct buy and play way
i.e. they won't upgrade from regular to veteran to elite. If you do upgrade them, you might skip a level or end up
with a different troop type of a higher level. I've tried to keep it as sensible as I could without changing the troops
designed by the Siverstag team.
So, for example, a Swadian archer might follow this path (ignoring possible branches in the tree):

Hunter > Crossbowman > Tilbaut Castle Archer

The Swadian Hunter would upgrade directly to a Crossbowman rather than:

Hunter (regular) > Hunter (veteran) > Hunter (elite) > Crossbowman (regular) > Crossbowman (veteran) > etc.

And if you directly buy a Crossbowman, it would upgrade to a Tilbaut Castle Archer rather than go:

Crossbowman (regular) > Crossbowman (veteran) > Crossbowman (elite) > Tilbaut Castle Archer (regular)

Is that how it works across the board in your system, or only in special cases?

If the 3 tier level per troop is completely gone, how do veteran recruits work if you decide to directly purchase higher level troops?


On a side note, I previously mentioned feeling frustrated with Silverstag's system. This is partially because I didn't understand it (I had to really dig to find a clear explanation of how to hire more powerful troops) and also because I've had financial difficulty in the early game due to the troop costs (something that was never an issue with in vanilla).

Normally, I'd buy cheap units early on, and they grow with me to the point in which I can use them to farm Sea Raiders for gear, cash (prisoners), and troop exp. With Silverstag, the early units aren't suitable for fighting raiders, so hiring them feels like a waste. I feel like I should be hiring T4 units so they can have a fighting chance in combat and can be turned into veteran recruits. These are expensive at that point in the game, though, so I find myself hiring fewer units. If I lose 2 or 3, it's a significant loss - about 400 to 800d down the drain. So I find myself looking for non-combat ways of raising money and gearing up in the early game.

With the troop tree, buying early units wouldn't feel like a waste if they grow with me to be suitable for combat later (assuming they're around T4 or T5 when I'm ready to fight raiders). Hopefully the lower upgrade cost also makes early finances easier. Then again, maybe I just need to find a better early game strategy for Silverstag's environment.

I look forward to trying it when you create an upload!
 

StormLightning

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Yes, it's somewhat similar to what you have guessed.

For example, the Swadian Ranged tree is as below:

(Tier 1 - Peasant)        (Tier 3 - Peasant)                                  (Tier 6 - Veteran)                        (Tier 8 - Veteran)
Swadian Hunter --> Elite Swadian Hunter ---------------> Veteran Tilbaut Castle Archer --> Veteran Suno Master Archer
        |
        '---------------> Swadian Crossbowman --> Elite Swadian Crossbowman
                                  (Tier 3 - Peasant)                    (Tier 5 - Veteran)

Now, if you buy the Swadian Crossbowman directly from the center, you can upgrade only
Regular --> Elite and not Regular --> Veteran --> Elite.

And, if you buy the Regular Tilbaut Castle Archer from Tilbaut Castle, you upgrade from
Regular TCA --> Veteran TCA --> Veteran Suno Master Archer, and it stops there.

This is because I have tried to provide reasonable upgrade paths while staying within the
framework of the Silverstag troop design, so some troop upgrades are missing in my trees.
I'm sure with more work and inputs from players regarding the balancing, it would become
possible to have better troop upgrade paths, but this is what I came up with. Also, the
upgrades from Regular --> Veteran --> Elite don't change the weapons and armor, and
paying high costs repeatedly for upgrading just the skills didn't seem to be worth it.

So, this is how it works across the board, with all the kingdom troops, except the Player-
made troops, because I don't know how to access that information yet.

Regarding direct purchases from the centers, the recruitment works just as it does in vanilla
Silverstag. You need Veteran recruits to buy higher tier troops. But, if you go the upgrade way
from peasant troops to higher level troops, the peasant troops automatically turn into veteran
troops, and if you dismiss those you get veteran troops in the center pool. All this is part of the
Silverstag gameplay design. I didn't do any work on it :smile:

So, in the above example, you could train your Swadian Hunters to Elite Crossbowmen, then
decide you don't want to stop there and want higher tier troops, so you dismiss the troops in
Tilbaut Castle (assuming you have the standings and affiliation) and get Veteran recruits in the
center, and then recruit Regular Tilbaut Castle Archers, and you can then upgrade Regular TCA
--> Veteran TCA --> Veteran Suno Master Archers, which is the top ranged tier for Swadia.

And this is doable across all the kingdom troops, with minor differences, except for a few
uniques which just did not fit anywhere in my troop tree branches. So those will be just like
vanilla Silverstag. You buy them from the center where they are available, and upgrade them
from Regular --> Elite, skipping Veteran. When you check the troop trees in Reference Material
--> View all Troops, you can see the upgrade paths, though the branches don't show because
Windyplains has taken the branching tree out of the presentation design.

As I understand the Silverstag design, the early game is meant to be played without too much
fighting except in tournaments, and doing quests for various NPCs to get standings and cash.
This cash should be invested in enterprises to generate your own income. This income helps
to recruit and maintain troops later on, since you now have high standings to access different
troops, and better reserves of cash, and continuous cash flow to buy and maintain them.

As I see it, the branching troop trees give the player the best of both types of gameplay, since
one can upgrade the already bought troops without too much grind, but with the costs being
close to buying troops directly, it doesn't give too much advantage over the AI.

Hope this explanation helps to understand the troop tree addition better. Cheers!
 

StormLightning

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To add to the example in the above post:

You could just as easily decide to dismiss your Elite Crossbowmen, and use the Veteran recruits
to hire completely different type of troops available at that center, such as higher Tier Infantry or
Cavalry. Then those higher Tier Infantry or Cavalry could be further upgraded as may be possible.

I've added the download link for the files. I've used 7Zip compression. It's an open source app.

Thanks once again for your encouragement. Cheers!
 

Amun-Ra

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Thank you very much for the in-depth explanation and providing a download!

I understand what you've done with it now.

And thanks for the comments on early game finances. Yeah, my problem was using strategies from vanilla and other mods here without fully understanding the available opportunities (for example, I didn't find out until yesterday that cargo escort quests are endlessly repeatable and, at least with the route I've been using, bounce back and forth continuously between two towns).

I'm not ready yet for a fully play-through with your mod, but I have installed it and had a look around. I'll send you a PM later with feedback.
 

Vaati

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Excuse my ignorance but does this work with the 0.27 version or if not, can we get a version of this that will work with it? I ask because I quite enjoy the new oathbound feature of it. I feel it works a lot better than what we usually get from the Freelancer mod.
 

zogggg

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Thanks for the moddb suggestion, but they have no add-ons there just the main mod in several versions. If anyone has a fresh link to this sub-mod, that would be appreciated.