Some general feedback about the game as a whole

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Xandariel

Recruit
Hey there!

Been lurking here for a while, on and off reading the discussions and suggestions. I thought, maybe I'd like to add something as well so here goes nothing I guess.
Just a heads up tho: I have never played or personally experienced warband or any of the previous titles, so some of my feedback might come off as uninformed or weird to some of the veterans here. I have also not been one of the very early adopters. I bought the game relatively recently, as compared to its almost 2 years of life at this point. So I have not experienced earlier iterations of, lets say, the xp system for example. Also, as of today, I am still on 1.6.5. I very much doubt the latter will change much if anything about what I am gonna give my feedback on, but I just wanted to put it out there for full transparency and to avoid confusion.

If I suggest something that previous games like warband did better, by all means, chime in and educate me on how my suggestion is inferior. I'll be quite happy to be enlightened.

I will also try to avoid talking about anything related to balancing, as that is usually always subject to change in a developing game and even more so in an early access title. I might make a few mentions, but will try to keep them to a minimum, as they add nothing of substance imo.

That being said, here goes:

I've played around 200 ish hours of the game at this point. Most of it in the last couple months. Had an absolute blast with the game for most of that time spent on it. Still, the longer I played, the more I noticed that beyond the honestly very solid framework and fun basic game loop, the game is essentially dead.

Many games, especially open world or rpg types, but also strategy and others suffer from a strong early and maybe also mid game and then during the late game, you find yourself incessantly doing the same crap over and over to the point where it no longer feels like a fun game but more like a chore. That is nothing new, but this game essentially takes it to the extreme, to the point where you could hyperbolically say the game as no late game. Let me explain a bit.

What's the point of trading? No, really, what's the point? In most games it serves a single purpose and that is for the player to earn money. It's a valid reason, as many games that aren't shooters or the sports type have an ingame economy for the player to utilize. So what to you trade for in Bannerlord? Well, money, I guess. But really, what is that money used for? Sure, I mean, you buy stuff, yeah. Obviously. In the case of Bannerlord you also pay your troops with money. But then what? Upkeep for troops is laughably small, unless you run a stack of 200 T6 units. In which case you have the military might to take over a town or castle - which in turn alleviates all your money problems, making money pointless again. You might wanna buy equipment. Yeah, gotcha. Then you got all the equipment you want. Plus some extras to change your look every now and again. And even some more extras for your buddies. But, well, again... Then what? Equipment does not break or degrade. You don't have to take care of it. It's a one time purchase and forget about it deal.

Ok, cool. Maybe you want to boost city building. Great, so you've spent money to... earn more money. Cool, I mean that is the basic concept of earning money in any game and I guess real life. But then your city is maxed out, you got 330 in trade, you're making crazy trade deals, running lots of caravans, owning the max amount of workshops, taxing your peasans and... become jeff bezos? Really, making money to make more money, to make more money.... to do what with, exactly? See my problem yet? There is nothing to do with all that wealth. There is no "end game goal" to your money, except making more money. Sure, you might wanna hit 1 million gold. Then maybe you will want to hit 10 million. Some crazy people might even aim for 100 million. But at what point is the amount of money you got gonna be so high that you just go "and now what?"?

This game not only needs more meaningful ways to spend and earn money, it also needs more money sinks built into the basic game loop. Why can't I become a wealthy patron of one of the many kingdoms. Let me fund them and watch them conquer their enemies. Or I will fund everyone, watch the world burn and sweep in when I see my chance. Why not let me have to repair my equipment occasionally, to have a regular money sink after battle? Heck, even things like horses need tending to and fodder, if I wanna become a horse merchant, as seems to be the meta to level trading these days. Be creative. Think of ways to make the player spend their hard earned cash in regular intervals, but without making it overbearing and annoying. And then give the player way to influence the world and spend their money on their own terms on meaningful decisions and in ways that actually matter.

Same goes for crafting. I won't talk about how the random nature of unlocks is an actually atrocious way of handling it. The devs seem to have grasped that themselves if their own statements are to be believed. However, crafting in and of itself is just as hollow as earning money. You screw around a bit until you unlock the parts you want, then you craft your weapons and then.... idk, do crafting writs? How many, until you get bored? And yes, I know, you can make mad cash and all that. See the above part about money, as to why I will ignore that. This feature, by itself, is worthless. It needs to be integrated into the game and properly integrated. If I am a master smith, let nobles hire me to craft a weapon for them - and then let them equip that weapon and maybe use it against me later. Let me equip my troops. The game seems to handle them in a similar way to you and your buddies, as they sport the same equipment slots. It shouldn't be too hard to make that happen. The basic framework is there. Or do you want me to believe that the 160 gold it took to upgrade them was enough gold to by them the late game armor and weapons they're sporting, as opposed to the farming tools they start out with? I mean heck, if you don't wanna invest in smithing, you can always buy their weapons at the local market. Another meaningful money sink, as troops will die and need to be replaced.

Let me compete with the local smithy, if the town has one. This would lead to deflation and cause all weapons to become cheaper, making me lose money and leading to the smithy becoming less profitable to the owner. If I own a smithy in that town, I might think twice about selling my crafted stuff there. Let me repair my own and my soldiers equipment. Let me make horse shoes, for a small (and maybe temporary) speed buff on the campaign map, in exchange for crafting materials(and thus, likely, money). Let me arm the local populace to aid them in rising up against their overlord, if their loyalty is low. You get the idea. There are so many things you could do with this. You wouldn't even need to use any of my suggestions. Just make it have an impact. Make it feel like it's an integral part of the world and the game loop, as opposed to an isolated and self serving feature that won't influence anyone or anything but yourself.

Speaking of influence: Let's talk about towns and villages. They look amazing. Really. Their architecture is cool and distinct, they "look" lived in and their size makes sense for a setting in medieval times. Aaaaand that's about where it stops. Walking through a town, you notice very fast that it's a rotting corpse with a nice paint job. Now, what do I mean by that? It looks cool, being in a town. Seeing the NPCs walking around, talking to each other, doing their stuff, is nice too. But it is really lifeless. There is nothing you can do there. All the NPCs talk about the same stuff to you, if at all. None of it anything meaningful. There are no quests to discover, no unique situations to unfold. Nothing, absolutely nothing. It's just a pretty background for an inevitable battlefield down the line.

Why won't the thugs try to rob me, if I walk into their alley all by myself, unarmed? Why won't the beggars ask me for money or food? Nobody comes to me, to speak to me about something. Dunno, convince me to join their cult, talk to me about anything really. Nobody acknowledges you're even there. Cool, that fits for some nobody hoodlum at clan rank 1, maybe. But if I've spent the last 100 days keeping pesky bandits off the road around the town, making a name for myself, being a well known clan - nobody recognizes me, asks me for favors, applauds me or mocks me. Heck, I could be the arena champion, have won the last 500 tournaments without going down a single time. Apparently the whole watching crowds memories are constantly wiped after every tourney.

I don't want this to become skyrim either, don't get me wrong. What I mean is that yeah, if I am a famous Aserai bandit leader, I dont expect some random sturgian peasant to know about me and remark about my cool journey. But make it make sense. If I've spent most of my game around the empire and I've won some big battles, a lot of tournaments, defeated a ton of bandits, helped notables, etc, I expect the people of the empire to have heard about me at least. They don't even need to shower me with praise or gifts. Just give my accomplishments some meaning and an actual feeling of progression. As it stands clan tier, for example, does nothing but give me the described stat boosts in party size and the eventual ability to form a kingdom. Oh yeah, speaking of. I am a king. I am the towns lord. Guess what, nobody gives a ****. I think the guards, when spoken to, remark on how "everything is cool, boss" or something along the lines and that is the extent to which it matters IN YOUR OWN TOWN.

Beyond that, I want to be able to influence the town itself. Where are the 500 dudes I just dropped off to guard the town literally 5 minutes ago, when I visit it? They're nobody to be found. Are they all on a potty break at the same time? Let me fund projects in my town(beyond the click a button to make a building level 3). Let me sponsor games or a tournament. Let me fund public projects(bread for the poor etc) that have an effect on loyalty and other stuff, beyond passing a law in the kingdom tab. Let me actually govern the town and reign judgement over the issues my artisans and merchants come to me with. Let me customize my throne room or keep. Maybe host banquets and invite other nobles to improve their opinion of me or treacherously imprison them. There are so many things you could possibly do with owning a town and this game does nothing. Towns, just like crafting, are a self serving feature. You conquer one to make money, to conquer another, then another, then another, until you get bored and quit.

I was gonna write elaborate about diplomacy and how it is stupid that the best way to improve relations with someone is to attack, defeat and release them, since the game lacks any meaningful way, beyond the occasional rng quest, to improve relations with people. Heck, I can easier improve relations with enemy nobles, rather than my own wife or companions. That's just sad and nothing else. I can't talk to my companions about current events, ask them about their thoughts or advice. I don't have to take their views or feelings into account, be afraid they might betray me, try to keep them happy, etc. Let alone nobles and kingdom interactions.

"Oh, what's that? You want to have an alliance by marrying my child? Sure. Give me 100k bucks. Great, here you go. You can have them. Oh, by the way, let me just declare war on you 1 second later lmao."

"Oof, you beat me into submission, destroyed 10 of my armies, conquered half of my kingdom and have me at your mercy. Also, other kingdoms are dogpiling on me now, because I am weak. How about YOU pay ME, so we can make peace?"

"Oh yeah, about that peace we declared 2 days ago and that great deal where you pay me tons of money despite me losing badly. Yeah that was just a joke. We are at war again, loser."

Don't think I have to add anything to this really. The whole system is broken and shallow. There is no alliance building. There is no treachery. There is no "Reputation". There is no AI logic, to dogpile someone who is dominating, in order to stop them from growing even stronger. There are no "personal grudges" among rulers etc. The whole relations system is worthless. I can have 100 opinion with every noble of another kingdom and they will all still happily declare on me just the same as a kingdom with -100 opinion nobles. Makes no difference. Might as well remove this feature in its current iteration.

Now, what do I really want to say with all this? I know, most of it sounds rather negative. I can promise you though, just as I premised - I had a blast with the game all the same. The problem is really that this is an empty husk of a (beautiful) game that is nonetheless build on an amazing foundation. All the building blocks are there, really. If this game could have any depth and I mean real depth, it could be one of the greatest achievements in gaming history.

The reason I write all this is not to belittle the game or undermine the amazing work the devs have done with it so far. It's because I see a gem underneath all the meaninglessness here and I want to see that gem shine brightly. I hope that could maybe give you a few ideas or highlight something that has not (often) been spoken about yet, so that it may be adressed in the future.

Like I keep saying, the foundation is there. The early game proves this. The problem only really arises once youve defeated 30 bands of deserters, returned the peasants 20th daughter to him, won your 100th tournament and sold your 5000th horse to finally reach 300 in trade. There is no content and where there is no content, the player has to set their own goal, as is customary in sandbox games. The problem really is that there is preciously little, beyond "reach x amount of cash" or "conquer the world" that the player can really set as a long term goal. You cant dedicate yourself to see a specific town become great and dominate the others around it. You can't make it your goal to equip all the nobles with mastercrafted weapons you've made. You can't make it your goal to establish a trade empire to dominate the markets. Because none of that is actually in the game in any meaningful(if at all) way. So you are left with the one thing the game does reasonably(and imo more than reasonably) well - combat and armies clashing. Problem is, as with anything in life - you do it enough times, it becomes a chore. And that's when a game becomes boring and uninteresting. If this game wants to succeed and be remembered as the gem it can and wants to be, there needs to be more to it than just "gather x guys and go off conquering towns".

Thanks for reading through all of this if you've made it this far. I know, my incoherent ramblings can be hard to stomach sometimes. So you've got my heartfelt gratitude and respect for sitting through it all.

PS: I know, there are a lot of people unhappy about MP. As I have never played it and personally have no interest in it, I purposefully left it out as I wouldn't have anything meaningful to add to it.
 

Nawari

Regular
Totally true.

There was a mod that worked I believe until version 1.6.X. This mod was called "Friendly Lords" (here). I haven't tested it, but according to the description, it introduced a more complex "npc" relationship system with an AI sophisticated enough to make the npc react to your proposals in various ways depending on their traits. They were responding to one of your criticisms about the lack of possibilities other than battles to influence clan relations. This work was the end of the thesis work of a young student, he had put, it seems, a lot of passions into doing it to obtain his diploma. I think it would be interesting for TW to look into this proposal to see if it would be appropriate to introduce it in the basic version...

Has anyone tested seriously this mod ?
 
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froggyluv

Grandmaster Knight
NW
Totally true.

There was a mod that worked I believe until version 1.6.X. This mod was called "Friendly Lords" (here). I haven't tested it, but according to the description, it introduced a more complex "npc" relationship system with an AI sophisticated enough to make the npc react to your proposals in various ways depending on their traits. They were responding to one of your criticisms about the lack of possibilities other than battles to influence clan relations. This work was the end of the thesis work of a young student, he had put, it seems, a lot of passions into doing it to obtain his diploma. I think it would be interesting for TW to look into this proposal to see if it would be appropriate to introduce it in the basic version...

Has anyone tested seriously this mod ?
Used to code stuff like this for text adventures back in the early 1980's.Alls you need are a few variables and then a little creative writing to give varied responses based on How you ask, who you are, who they are (type of personality usually 5-10 types), culture you're dealing with...

This stuff shouldnt be hard for TW they again just choose not to -contempt can be my only reasoning. Ill Boomer myself out this a ways.. ..
 
Thanks for reading through all of this if you've made it this far. I know, my incoherent ramblings can be hard to stomach sometimes. So you've got my heartfelt gratitude and respect for sitting through it all.
I read it all and your right. I felt the same after my second playthrough i called bannerlord soulless . I think you have written pretty much how i feel about the game for the last year. I am constantly posting about meaningless traits and relationship stat . I did try to raise my wife's relation stat by buy silk and jewelry but you can't give it so she remains a 2 relations with me ( one wife i got was the princess of vlandia i paid 5000gold and i was slightly off so i added a donkey and the king was happy lol ). You can't raise relations with clan members unless you put them to war with you. Its stupid . As for blacksmith i don't like it, it's just filler and silly way to make crazy money. But i have had fun and done enjoy battles but as i put in my steam review which is positive Battles and trade aren't enough . I would love your idea's added to the game i hope the dev's read what you have written.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
I read it all and your right. I felt the same after my second playthrough i called bannerlord soulless . I think you have written pretty much how i feel about the game for the last year. I am constantly posting about meaningless traits and relationship stat . I did try to raise my wife's relation stat by buy silk and jewelry but you can't give it so she remains a 2 relations with me ( one wife i got was the princess of vlandia i paid 5000gold and i was slightly off so i added a donkey and the king was happy lol ). You can't raise relations with clan members unless you put them to war with you. Its stupid . As for blacksmith i don't like it, it's just filler and silly way to make crazy money. But i have had fun and done enjoy battles but as i put in my steam review which is positive Battles and trade aren't enough . I would love your idea's added to the game i hope the dev's read what you have written.
You also don't need relations with your wife for anything. I suspect the fact it exists is some kind of bug. Your clan IS YOU as far as game mechanics go.
 
You also don't need relations with your wife for anything. I suspect the fact it exists is some kind of bug. Your clan IS YOU as far as game mechanics go.
I know but I see it and you should have relation and its they could just add 50 relation to spouse. Its nothing apart from making sense. Its not just that its the rest too. As i have written before i don't play calculating all the be numbers i don't even know what tear 6 troops the factions have apart from them batanian bowmen i more play the rule of cool . I am want the rpg side improving the characters story made by events and npc's matters more to me .
 
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I like using the True Noble Opinion mod. It separates each clan member's relative relation status, as opposed to the entire clan having one set number.
you linked to the player switcher mod :smile:.

Does the mod True Noble Opinion actually changes how the world reacts to you and does this change their behavior?
I guess you have to use in together with True relations .

@Xandariel, well said. you put to words exactly what I feel after playing for a longer time. My main points are:
- prices don't make sense, gear price in relationship to recruiting/equipping and upgrading soldiers
- income doesn't make sense. Too little tax income in relation to the enormous amount of money you get after battles.
- relationships and traits don't seem to matter much
- Weird tribute system that drains kingdoms without a set end date or fixed amount. The only way to stop paying is to declare war.
- Diplomacy in general. and indeed having to pay for peace when you are destroying the enemy
- no court system with options to influence you kingdom
- and a small but important thing for me is having to use mods for the body sliding after death option. I play Bannerlord for fun. Controlling a warrior on the battlefield is fun. watching the ai fight is not. First switch to captains after death. so you can no longer order the hole army, but only 1 formation. after that switch to a regular soldier with no options to order anyone around.
 
you linked to the player switcher mod :smile:.

Does the mod True Noble Opinion actually changes how the world reacts to you and does this change their behavior?
I guess you have to use in together with True relations .

@Xandariel, well said. you put to words exactly what I feel after playing for a longer time. My main points are:
- prices don't make sense, gear price in relationship to recruiting/equipping and upgrading soldiers
- income doesn't make sense. Too little tax income in relation to the enormous amount of money you get after battles.
- relationships and traits don't seem to matter much
- Weird tribute system that drains kingdoms without a set end date or fixed amount. The only way to stop paying is to declare war.
- Diplomacy in general. and indeed having to pay for peace when you are destroying the enemy
- no court system with options to influence you kingdom
- and a small but important thing for me is having to use mods for the body sliding after death option. I play Bannerlord for fun. Controlling a warrior on the battlefield is fun. watching the ai fight is not. First switch to captains after death. so you can no longer order the hole army, but only 1 formation. after that switch to a regular soldier with no options to order anyone around.
Oops. Fixed the link.

And yeah, I use True Relations as well. As far as I know, lords with different personality traits are less likely to gain favor with you, where as an honorable lord is friendlier to another honorable, etc.
 
But does this change their behaviour and impact their decision making?
As much as the relation mechanic works, I reckon. Here's the description:

"What this mod does is quite simple, it separates the relation of a clan member from the clan leader.
The encyclopedia in native lies, when you check how much a character likes you, it will show how much the clan leader likes you (except for neutral, player and no clan), which is why the entire clan seems to have the same opinion, then magically they have no opinion if they join you or if the clan leader changes.

This mod fixes this by separating the relations (both visually and in practice). No more fake relations across the board, different leaders and heroes will have their own opinions of you, with all that comes with that (interactions, dialogue, probability of defection, ...)"
 

Nawari

Regular
Why these mods are not in the native version ? I don't like use mods because It's often a little unbalanced DIY, not to mention that it often lacks the right translation, which makes the game very unpleasant...

I don't understand why it doesn't fit in the native version in order to have a more "lively" game with a real "soul" from the start. It's incredible...
They give you a skeleton and make the modders work for them. It makes no sense. It was up to them to give a "spirit" to Bannerlord. Modders should only provide "amenities".
 
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Calabanar

Sergeant at Arms
This was a great post!

It really pin points to what a lot of us have qualified as "bannerlord lacking depth and livelyness".🙌
 

Nawari

Regular
This was a great post!

It really pin points to what a lot of us have qualified as "bannerlord lacking depth and livelyness".🙌
And it's a big step forward that we can talk about coating without being insulted. Two years ago, it was especially not necessary to speak about the coating, it was only the mechanics of the game which counted.
 

Calabanar

Sergeant at Arms
And it's a big step forward that we can talk about coating without being insulted. Two years ago, it was especially not necessary to speak about the coating, it was only the mechanics of the game which counted.
Tbf though, it has kind of gone the other way now. People being positive about the game often get politely told they are utterly wrong.

On the topic of wealth and how pointless it is, honestly... it's one of my biggest pet peaves.

So many things have been nerfed just because there is nothing to spend denars on, which naturally leads to a quick increase of wealth... (enterprises, loot quantity and quality, village production...).

What this game needs is stuff to spend money on, which would allow to get away from the battle system for a bit, or discover new things (the board games are... I mean, they woud be neat if the other systems were more fleshed out.

There are so many possibilities: paying to make your own troop tree, which could in turn benefit from having many blacksmiths so your units are less expensive to hire and upgrade, having a high level perk that allows you to forge weapons that can then be equipped by your troops, too. Bodyguard troops, social reforms, random events...

An actually interesting settlement management system with options and, more than anything else, choices that actually impact the settlement beyond how many people there are and how fast bandits spawn... Want a border town to focus on the military to make it harder to breach? Build a barracks and Militia quarters that you can then upgrade, invest in patrols that attack bandits and go back to the settlement when a big army goes near, etc.

Invest to repair armors you found on the battlefield (less expensive than buying a new one). Invest into tournaments to give a happiness boost to your population, hire a mercenary band for a single mission (but more expensive than their daily contracts).

Invest in special characters that allow you to actually build war machines (you needed specialized people to make these), it could be through a building for the more specialized ones (fire ballista and onager, trebuchet) or through companions/soldiers you could hire in taverns.

Hire a blacksmith to make that high end armor you can't get your hand one.

Heck, random events for every tier you are at, like in Battle Brothers and Viking Conquest (if my memory serves well). Treat an epidemic which costs a ton or risk loyalty and population loss.

The game sets the player to expect a bunch of things to do... but never delivers, and it's actually madenning seeing so much unused potential! :facepalm:
 
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Nawari

Regular
This game is a very bad copy of "Civilization", like many others. TW has created a massive combat system that works quite well. But they never knew how to make a game...

For me there are two options:

- either they make a 100% management game, but I think it will remain a sub-game, a pale copy of great games, and therefore necessarily soporific, this is the way you are proposing,

- or they keep the current framework to make a very large RPG, a real narrative game with the originality of massive fights to pass the stages of the story. Game over, or continuation of the episode. Everything is there to do it. But you have to go all the way artistically.

It would be original, but it requires them to expand their artistic team. This is my proposal.

I don't like management games, for me they are not games, but simulations of our own alienation at work (lol).
They have everything to make a great RPG. They are going to make us an "under-civilization", like Total War, Europa... ****...
Tbf though, it has kind of gone the other way now. People being positive about the game often get politely told they are utterly wrong.

On the topic of wealth and how pointless it is, honestly... it's one of my biggest pet peaves.

So many things have been nerfed just because there is nothing to spend denars on, which naturally leads to a quick increase of wealth... (enterprises, loot quantity and quality, village production...).

What this game needs is stuff to spend money on, which would allow to get away from the battle system for a bit, or discover new things (the board games are... I mean, they woud be neat if the other systems were more fleshed out.

There are so many possibilities: paying to make your own troop tree, which could in turn benefit from having many blacksmiths so your units are less expensive to hire and upgrade, having a high level perk that allows you to forge weapons that can then be equipped by your troops, too. Bodyguard troops, social reforms, random events...

An actually interesting settlement management system with options and, more than anything else, choices that actually impact the settlement beyond how many people there are and how fast bandits spawn... Want a border town to focus on the military to make it harder to breach? Build a barracks and Militia quarters that you can then upgrade, invest in patrols that attack bandits and go back to the settlement when a big army goes near, etc.

Invest to repair armors you found on the battlefield (less expensive than buying a new one). Invest into tournaments to give a happiness boost to your population, hire a mercenary band for a single mission (but more expensive than their daily contracts).

Invest in special characters that allow you to actually build war machines (you needed specialized people to make these), it could be through a building for the more specialized ones (fire ballista and onager, trebuchet) or through companions/soldiers you could hire in taverns.

Hire a blacksmith to make that high end armor you can't get your hand one.

Heck, random events for every tier you are at, like in Battle Brothers and Viking Conquest (if my memory serves well). Treat an epidemic which costs a ton or risk loyalty and population loss.

The game sets the player to expect a bunch of things to do... but
 
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