Smithing is insanely unbalanced - refining 100 crude iron requires 4500 hardwood and 225 days of in-game resting [in-depth Smithing Overhaul idea]

Rychlas

Recruit
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Greetings, as of now refining is the most labour, time, resource and click intensive thing in the entire game. The amount of resources needed to fully refine 100 units of crude iron is INSANE. This is mostly because each single refine stage feeds into the Tier 1 iron which is Crude Iron. This creates a wicked loop, a self-feeding, recursive, cruel and inhuman grind which drastically increases the amount of wood needed in Smithing.

I wrote a simple algorythm to calculate how much hardwood is needed to fully refine 100 crude iron and what would the refining process yield.


Code:
using System;
using System.Threading;

                 
public class Program
{
    public static void Main()
    {
        int cc, t1, t2, t3, t4, t5, t6, hw, stam;
        double days, hours;
        cc = 0;                                        //charcoal counter
        t1 = 100;                                    //crude iron
        t2 = 0;                                        //wrought iron
        t3 = 0;                                        //iron
        t4 = 0;                                        //steel
        t5 = 0;                                        //fine steel
        t6 = 0;                                        //thamaskene steel
        hw = 0;                                        //hardwood required to craft charcoal
        stam = 0;                                    //stamina needed to craft everything
        double time;                                    //number of in-game hours needed to be waited-through in order to regain stamina
        Console.WriteLine("Amount of Crude Iron to refine: "+ t1);
     
        while (t1>0)
        {
            t1--;
            t2++;
            cc++;
            while (t2>1) {
                t2=t2-2;
                t3++;
                t1++;
                cc++;

                while (t3>1){
                    t3=t3-2;
                    t4++;
                    t1++;
                    cc++;
                    while (t4>1){
                        t4=t4-2;
                        t5++;
                        t1++;
                        cc++;
                        while (t5>1){
                            t5=t5-2;
                            t6++;
                            t1++;
                            cc++;
                        }
                    }
                }
            }
        }
         
         
     
        hw=(cc*3)/2;  //hardwood used
        //it takes 6 stamina per refine without perks
        stam = ((cc/2)+cc)*6;
     
        //it takes 1 in-game hour of waiting in settlement to restore 5 stamina, which means you need to wait 20 in-game hours to restore 100 stamina.
        time = stam/5;
        days = Math.Floor(time/24);
        hours = (time/24-days)*24;

     
     

     
        Console.WriteLine("Charcoal used: "+ cc);
        Console.WriteLine("Hardwood required: "+ hw);
        Console.WriteLine("Products of refining:");    
        Console.WriteLine("Crude  Iron = "+ t1);
        Console.WriteLine("Wrought Iron = "+ t2);
        Console.WriteLine("Iron = "+ t3);
        Console.WriteLine("Steel = "+ t4);
        Console.WriteLine("Fine Steel = "+ t5);
        Console.WriteLine("Thamaskene Steel = "+ t6);
        Console.WriteLine("Stamina used = "+ stam);
        Console.WriteLine("In-game hours you need to wait(rest) to replenish stamina = "+ time);
        Console.WriteLine("Which equals to : "+ days + " days and " +hours+" hours of in-game time");
     
    }
}

These are the results:


Amount of Crude Iron to refine: 100
Charcoal used: 3002
Hardwood required: 4503

Products of refining:
Crude Iron = 0
Wrought Iron = 1
Iron = 1
Steel = 1
Fine Steel = 1
Thamaskene Steel = 96
Stamina used = 27018
In-game hours you need to wait(rest) to replenish stamina = 5403

Which equals to : 225 days and 3 hours of in-game time


And all of that to refine JUST 100 crude iron.
Needless to say, it makes smithing virtually just phantom feature - it is there, but it will never be useful - unless reworked.

Here's my suggestion on how it could be changed:

  • Rebalance Charcoal making:
    • Change the price and weight of Charcoal to 50% of its current value, to decrease the money you could get from making charcoal
    • Change the following charcoal making recipes:
      • 2 hardwood -> 1 charcoal to 1 hardwood -> 1 charcoal (without perk)
      • 3 hardwood -> 2 charcoal to 2 hardwood -> 3 charcoal (with perk)

        My reasoning: refining requires tons of charcoal, and it makes no sense to leave it this way. Just to refine 100 units of crude iron, I had to run around the whole map for a couple of IRL hours! It's way too grindy and frustrating.
  • Rebalance refining recipes:
    • Remove self-feeding loop of crude iron from the higher than basic tiers of refining. Instead of:
      • T1 = T2
      • 2x T2 = T3 + T1
      • 2x T3 = T4 + T1
      • 2x T4 = T5 + T1
      • 2x T5 = T6 + T1

        change it to:
      • T1 = T2
      • 3x T2 = 2x T3
      • 3x T3 = 2x T4
      • 3x T4 = 2x T5
      • 3x T5 = 2x T6

        My reasoning: even though currently you have 100% efficience in refining, the amount of grind (time + wood hoarding) required to refine the crude iron to thamaskene steel is riddiculous. It's beyond "grindy", it's just insane. The amount of time you need to spend on it cannot be expected to be spent by players. We don't want to waste tens or hundreds of IRL hours on just a small clicking time waster simulator inside of a vast and great game like Bannerlord. The recipes I suggest remove the recursive character of the current recipes, and lowers the efficiency of refining to almost 20% (19,75%), which is fine and acceptable.
  • Rebalance amount of stamina, stamina regen, and rate of researching new parts:
    • Increase the amount of stamina based on your Smithing skill level (100+2xSkill Level)
    • Increase the amount of stamina regained per hour of rest (5% +1% per 50 skill levels of stamina per hour, rounded up)
      My reasoning: it rewards the player for skilling the smithing up, and makes it less of a chore for the player, reducing the amounts of time wasted away. The need to wait for ~10-15s(?) every couple of clicks in the smithy is one of the most frustrating and unfair mechanics in this game.
  • Nerf metal prices, increase value of weapons - crafted and stock:
    • Change the prices of iron ore and all iron and steel tiers to 1/2 of their current values
    • Add a value to the base price of all weapons equal to the sum of the base prices of materials they yield after smelting them
    • Increase the value of crafted weapons above 80 difficulty, by (if difficulty > 80) -> bonus = (Difficulty-80)/2)%, and applied on top of that (multuplicative, not additive) +10% for fine, +30 for masterwork and 100% for legendary weapons.

      My reasoning: currently, the refining can be exploited by buying cheap weapons, smelting them and then refining the metal earned. It just shouldn't be in the game. My solution nerfs material prices and makes refining non-profitable, but rewards actually smithing - what the smithing skill shoud all be about. The better and more difficult weapon the more money you get. Along with the refining recipe changes it all should work and synergize very neatly.
  • Add new, guaranteed steelmaker perks 5-10 lvls before advanced steelmaker perks with worse versions of refining steel
    • Add new guaranteed (without option to choose between anything) perks for each tier of steel
    • Add 3 new basic recipes for all steel types on the same lvls if possible, or just before/after the current perks:
      • Change the names of Steelmaker perks to Advanced Steelmaker
      • Add Basic Steelmaker perks 1, 2 and 3 just before or after the choice between Advanced Steelmaker and Curious Smelter/Smith and Experienced Smith
        • lv 45 [Steelmaker 1] (gives recipe 2 iron -> 1 steel)
        • lv 50 [Adv Steelmaker/Curious Smelter]
        • lv 70 [Steelmaker 2] (gives recipe 2 steel -> 1 fine steel)
        • lv 75 [Adv Steelmaker 2/Curious Smith]
        • lv 95 [Steelmaker 3] (gives recipe 2 fine steel -> 1 thamaskene steel)
        • lv 100 [Adv Steelmaker/Experienced Smith]

          My reasoning: ability to further refine iron into different tiers of steel is essential for smithing. It should be unlockable, but it should never be a choice. This solution makes the choice of having a better recipe or something else, also good, but not as punishing to choose as it is right now as it simply strips you of the ability to refine your materials if you want to learn new parts faster.
  • Rebalance learning new parts, add more ways to learn them
    • Increase the rates of learning new parts at least 5x
    • Add an option in the Smithy to reverse-engineer a weapon at the cost of 50 stamina to learn how to build one of its parts currently unknown to you, if your skill is higher than the skill needed to craft the weapon you're trying to study. The weapon wouldn't be consumed in the process, but you have a 10% chance with each study to lower its quality.

      My reasoning: After reaching 250+ smithing unmodded, I've unlocked around 5-10% of the parts available. The grind for these reaches inhuman levels. It really needs to be rebalanced. And being given the guaranteed option to reverse-engineer if you're proficient and knowledgable enough in smithing also sounds very reasonable.
  • Fix the currently existing bug that purges crafted weapon bonuses and stats upon loading
    As of 1.0.8, there exists a bug that simply makes weapon crafting pointless. If you save and load, all of the unique stats your weapon had and bonuses get purged and changed to the base stats of the weapon. It needs to get fixed asap.


    The whole rework of the refining I'm suggesting would result in the following changes:


    [*]
    C#:
    using System;
    using System.Threading;
    
    
    public class Program
    {
    public static void Main()
    {
    int t1, t2, t3, t4, t5, t6;
    double days, hours, cc, hw, stam;
    cc = 0; //charcoal counter
    t1 = 100; //crude iron
    t2 = 0; //wrought iron
    t3 = 0; //iron
    t4 = 0; //steel
    t5 = 0; //fine steel
    t6 = 0; //thamaskene steel
    hw = 0; //hardwood required to craft charcoal
    stam = 0; //stamina needed to craft everything
    double time; //number of in-game hours needed to be waited-through in order to regain stamina
    Console.WriteLine("Amount of Crude Iron to refine: "+ t1);
    
    while (t1>0)
    {
    t1--;
    t2++;
    cc++;
    while (t2>2) {
    t2=t2-3;
    t3=t3+2;
    cc++;
    
    while (t3>2){
    t3=t3-3;
    t4=t4+2;
    cc++;
    while (t4>2){
    t4=t4-3;
    t5=t5+2;
    cc++;
    while (t5>2){
    t5=t5-3;
    t6=t6+2;
    cc++;
    }
    }
    }
    }
    }
    
    
    
    hw=cc*2/3; //hardwood used in 2 wood -> 3 charcoal recipe
    //it takes 6 stamina per refine without perks
    stam = ((cc/2)+cc)*6;
    
    //it takes 1 in-game hour of waiting in settlement to restore 5 stamina, which means you need to wait 20 in-game hours to restore 100 stamina.
    time = stam/5;
    days = Math.Floor(time/24);
    hours = Math.Floor((time/24-days)*24);
    
    
    
    
    
    Console.WriteLine("Charcoal used: "+ cc);
    Console.WriteLine("Hardwood required: "+ Math.Ceiling(hw));
    Console.WriteLine("Products of refining:");
    Console.WriteLine("Crude Iron = "+ t1);
    Console.WriteLine("Wrought Iron = "+ t2);
    Console.WriteLine("Iron = "+ t3);
    Console.WriteLine("Steel = "+ t4);
    Console.WriteLine("Fine Steel = "+ t5);
    Console.WriteLine("Thamaskene Steel = "+ t6);
    Console.WriteLine("Stamina used = "+ stam);
    Console.WriteLine("In-game hours you need to wait(rest) to replenish stamina = "+ time);
    Console.WriteLine("Which equals to : "+ days + " days and " +hours+" hours of in-game time");
    
    }
    }
    [*]

    Amount of Crude Iron to refine: 100
    Charcoal used: 178
    Hardwood required: 119
    Products of refining:
    Crude Iron = 0
    Wrought Iron = 1
    Iron = 0
    Steel = 2
    Fine Steel = 1
    Thamaskene Steel = 18
    Stamina used = 1602
    In-game hours you need to wait(rest) to replenish stamina = 320.4
    Which equals to : 13 days and 8 hours of in-game time

    It is, in my opinion, a much more reasonable system than the current one, and I'd be extremely pleased if Dear Devs considered reworking the current smithing, smelting and refining systems.



    Please, feel free to comment and discuss.
 

masarius

Recruit
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I can see your argument and think it is reasonable. Personally i stopped refining too much and simply smelt everything.

I had the urge to smelt and refine over and over again, because i felt that it was the only way to increase the skill. However I once made a weapon which game me around 1500 xp or so. I could not reproduce it. Overall smithing itself should be me more rewarding.

And yes the perk are currently either "easy refining but no parts" or "parts but no metal". I mean you could buy weapons and smelt them to gain new parts and metal but well dont know about that. You should be able to level the skill while you progress, not buy everything when you have huge amount of income.
 

Rychlas

Recruit
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Crafting and resource management is usually the most immersive part in any game for me. In Bannerlord, however, the mechanics are basicly excruciating, inhuman grind. I can't do this anymore Vanilla. I installed mods, and sometimes I even lock my stamina or spawn charcoal with cheatengine, since the grind has already wasted so much of my time for literally no reason at all. I wish the Vanilla smithing was a bitt more reasonable.
 

Punchtown Hero

Regular
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Agreed, I made a charater that was supposed to be a master blacksmith... ended up smithing like 1600+ ingots of every type which insane btw, I crashed the entire metal economy due to flooding it with resources (it still isn't fixed) and I ended around 180 blacksmithing and still had neither the skill to craft an entire T5 piece weapon properly nor had I even had even 10% of the T5 blueprints unlocked. I had smelted down thousands of high tier items btw, I ended up with so much gold I was just buying out entire towns armories with my 5+mil just to smelt them down for blueprints (maybe 1 in 20 items of T4 quality gave me a single blueprint)
 

Rychlas

Recruit
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Currently with mods I've set my research speed to 10 times the vanilla value, and I have only around 20% parts unlocked at lvl 230. 10 times faster than vanilla! This really needs to get changed, we shouldn't be reliant on mods to fix it. Don't go the Bethesda way, TaleWorlds, please.
 

Orion

Still Not Worthy
Global Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNW
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You get a better chance at discovering parts by smithing high difficulty weapons, but your ability to do so is locked behind the randomness of discovering high end parts in the first place. My most recent character lucked out and has been able to make tier 6 weapons since ~100 smithing, which luckily coincided with picking up the Thamaskene steel perk. I can only recommend smithing the highest quality weapons you possibly can, and for me I'm still getting a new part unlock for every 2 or 3 weapons I smith at 210 skill. You also get considerably more experience from smithing high difficulty weapons, so you level the skill faster.

That said, I definitely agree with Rychlas regarding the refining loop and I agree in principle regarding stamina. I feel that the stamina cost reduction for refining actually gets it about right currently, but that should be the baseline and the perk should be replaced with something more interesting. Alternatively, a scaling cap (either per level or tied into each perk tier as a guaranteed bonus) would be nice.

The perks for refining higher tier steels should not be a choice as they are critical for the functionality of the system. I once made the mistake of skipping steel refining for the bonus part unlock rate on smelting, as I was still under the assumption that smelting was a reliable way of getting parts in the first place. The top and bottom perks at these tiers should simply be combined, or introduce them initially as 2:1 conversions like Rychlas said and offer more efficient conversion (e.g. 3:2) with future perks as meaningful alternatives to other perks. Choosing between making Thamaskene steel and the potential to make Fine weapons is a trap, because Thamaskene is immensely more useful short- and long-term as weapons which require Thamaskene steel to smith will level the skill much faster and push you up to the Masterwork perk, itself making the Fine perk obsolete.

Smelting weapons and selling the parts is definitely a problem, regardless of how much I like doing it early game for a cash boost. Increasing weapon prices might not be the right way to go, though, because melee weapons might be cheap but ranged weapons are nuts and I feel it would be better to drop the high end while continuing to pare down income sources rather than inflate the bottom.
 

Rychlas

Recruit
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Yeah, I have no idea what's going on with the ranged weapon prices at this moment, the last tier should be at 1/3 of what it's now, and I agree that it's too high. I didn't, however, even consider them getting increased by my proposal, because I had in mind that I was talking about smeltable/smithable weapons. I should've specified.

Thus, what I had in mind is nerfing 70g weapons by boosting up their prices to nerf early smelting, and up the prices of crafted weapons only. If we lower the mats prices and add them to the price of the weapons, the change won't be high for melee weapons of higher tiers, and at the same time we could lower their price growth to avoid having stock weapons (in shops) for 50k or so.
 

Negative

Regular
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@Rychlas
Thanks for the work you put into that.
Besides an impact of smithing on stamina, i'd like to see that the stamina does not onyl recover when waiting. This way you could at least to smithing inbetween doing other things.
 

Rychlas

Recruit
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@Negative
Thanks. Great point. I completely forgot about this since I use a mod that fixes the issue and passively regens your stamina even when you're traveling. Which, as you've said, should be in the vanilla mechanics.
 

Madae

Regular
WB
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This may seem obvious, but a lot of people have talked about this, so you definitely aren't the only one that feels this way about it. My guess is that there has been quite enough talk about it that it will eventually change once the run of stability type patches are completed and they can get in to actually changing gameplay. As an alternative fix in the meantime, there are mods that remove some of the agregious problems with it, such as the resting period.
 
Last edited:
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Smithing definitely needs fixing, but the first steps of refining are pointless. Smelting weapons is much more efficient and makes it bearable, honestly without the stamina I don't think it would even be so bad.