Some thoughts on the general pacing of Bannerlord and how it could be improved given its feature set

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Userre

Recruit
Bannerlord's pacing has been a somewhat contentious topic since launch. This is primarily due to snowballing. The devs did an excellent job in really tackling that problem, and so it doesn't feel like the rush to king that it used to be.

However, the pacing of the game as it currently stands doesn't match what one would expect from a game that so strongly supports Clan mechanics, the most important being the continuation of play as a relative of your original character. This feature is incredibly useful, especially in those circumstances where your main character might die early on. For those who are afraid of that circumstance, I strongly encourage trying to play with death on, even at a reduced rate. It can really add to the experience, especially for those campaigns that have gone on for years in game.

The issue, though, is that Bannerlord's general pacing is similar to that of Warband. The time needed to set up an army and siege and capture a single city is in the realm of a month in-game, when there are currently features that are intended to be utilized with dozens or even over a hundred years in a campaign. The problem is that as you progress through the game, some factions die and no new ones crop up. Your faction (should you have one) can't break up, and other factions can't break up either. This leads to a problem; as you play more and more (a few dozen years), the game becomes less interesting with less factions to interact with and no new challenges to face.

That's why I think it's necessary that the game introduce elements to either shift the pacing of the game or constantly provide political events throughout the campaign, including massive civil wars among the larger factions or even a mass slaughter of a faction's nobility by the king. Imagine if you were part of Vlandia on your main character, Derthert has died and his son was made king. He invites you and most lords (let's say just clan leaders) to a feast where you're slaughtered. This would be an incredibly rare event as to not dissuade players from participating in feasts, and so feasts would also have other features (major tournaments, relations building, etc) in order to persuade players to take part in them.

I think a lot of these events should be driven by cultural challenges. As of now, there is already a key cultural challenge in the game; civil unrest can lead to rebellions which can be costly and time-consuming, or even debilitating, to deal with. However, there's a lot of potential. Rebellions should be dynamic, where if there are multiple fiefs leading towards rebellion, they can group up to be a more meaningful force. This can lead to one kind of civil war. Cultures in general should wish to preserve themselves by always tending towards creating or sustaining their own independent faction. In order to avoid problems with the largest Empire culture, we can distinguish between the southern, western, and northern cultures, or create new systems that can allow these factions to sustain themselves or even recreate themselves should they be extinguished and the right circumstance present itself.

Events such as these would force adaptation, changes in playstyle and overall planning from the player, and so long as the game maintains a balance of AI power within the game, it can allow the player to play in a much more enjoyable and timeless sandbox environment, which would make continued play with other clan members a much more meaningful and interesting proposition.

Furthermore, I'd propose that these challenges should face the player as well. These shouldn't be entirely random, but for example if a large percentage of your nobility dislikes you or dislikes a sufficient number of policies, they can come to you with ultimatums or even abdicate with their fiefs, or create a new faction and wage civil war. If you're an incredibly renowned player and you're captured by a lord that truly despises you, there should be a decent chance that your main character gets executed (this may be in the game, but I've never witnessed it). These events should always be driven by the player's actions and hence can be avoided, but they should still exist to challenge the player in those circumstances.

Anyways, that's about it. If anyone happens to read this, tell me what you think of some of these suggestions.
 

svelok

Sergeant
I think of aging/death mechanics as existing primarily for the AI, as part of the sandbox. So fun and flavorful stuff that interacts with that - for example, civil wars on monarch death - would be neat. Right now, the ruler could die and change hands 16 times in two years and far from having a major impact, the player might not even know it has happened, there is no outwardly apparent difference between one ruler and another. Somewhere under the hood, some slightly different defection decisions are happening or whatever, it's nothing that's clearly presented to the player or interactable. Anything to bolster up that stuff, also cool. Derthert has some lore about being a reluctant king who just wants to stop the bloodshed and it's just empty words, a coat of paint that the player wouldn't be able to tell apart from any other ruling clan with any other name and appearance - whatever mechanical difference does exist, if any, is invisible.

On the other hand, some seem to want Bannerlord to become Crusader Kings, where player inheritance and lineage are core components of the gameplay loop, and I really disagree with that view.
 

five bucks

Sergeant at Arms
The time needed to set up an army and siege and capture a single city is in the realm of a month in-game, when there are currently features that are intended to be utilized with dozens or even over a hundred years in a campaign. The problem is that as you progress through the game, some factions die and no new ones crop up. Your faction (should you have one) can't break up, and other factions can't break up either. This leads to a problem; as you play more and more (a few dozen years), the game becomes less interesting with less factions to interact with and no new challenges to face.
That's why I think it's necessary that the game introduce elements to either shift the pacing of the game or constantly provide political events throughout the campaign, including massive civil wars among the larger factions.

For example if a large percentage of your nobility dislikes you or dislikes a sufficient number of policies, they can come to you with ultimatums or even abdicate with their fiefs, or create a new faction and wage civil war.

Rebellions should be dynamic, where if there are multiple fiefs leading towards rebellion, they can group up to be a more meaningful force. This can lead to one kind of civil war. Cultures in general should wish to preserve themselves by always tending towards creating or sustaining their own independent faction. In order to avoid problems with the largest Empire culture, we can distinguish between the southern, western, and northern cultures, or create new systems that can allow these factions to sustain themselves or even recreate themselves should they be extinguished and the right circumstance present itself.
Great idea, and yes yes yes to all of this. I think civil wars are the missing piece in Bannerlord which would fix the issue of it getting less interesting the longer you play. The early dev blogs gave the impression that civil wars were going to be a game mechanic. It almost feels like the game's features were built around civil wars: loyalty personality traits, the heirs mechanic, etc.

However, I have also lost any hope of Taleworlds doing anything like that, except possibly in a DLC. As it is, they work very slowly. Modders are much more likely to make something like that happen, the Separatism mod kind of does it.

In a perfect world, I'd like to see civil wars implemented in two separate mechanics - Revolution and Coup d'état.

Coup:
* Every year, each clan has a chance of starting a Plot against the current ruler. This is affected by multiple factors: time since the last plot, the number of clans in the faction, the loyalty/disloyalty trait, relation with the ruling clan, whether the clan has more influence than the ruler, if the clan has a different culture to the ruler, and a small random element. Only one Plot will be active at a time.
* Once a Plot is started, the Plotter tries to recruit clan leaders/the player to their cause over time, starting with their closest friends. The noble/player can either join them, not decide (Plotter tries again later), or expose the plot to the ruler. The noble's choice is determined by a formula which adds together the relation of the noble with the Plotter, the relation of the noble with the ruling clan, the loyalty/disloyalty trait, the Influence of the plotter, a bonus for being the same culture, and a small random element.
* If the Plot is exposed, or enough time passes and the Plotter feels they have enough support, a Coup is then openly declared. The Plotter, and any supporters they have gained, secede with all their fiefs, to form a new kingdom with a new name (generated from a list of names), with the highest Influence member of their group as the leader, and a culture which is the same as the leader's.
* The old kingdom declares war on the new "traitor" kingdom.
* Player vassals can start Plots themselves. To balance this against starting a new kingdom, Plotters gain the reputation of Disloyalty, instantly have to go to war, and you do not get to rule the "traitor" kingdom if you don't have the most influence among the Plotters.
* If the player is ruling a small or medium-sized faction, they don't have to worry about Coups for a long time, as the likelihood of one starting is low. However, if the player has a very large kingdom, Coups are designed to be highly likely, to provide a source of enemies in the end game. A player ruler can reduce the likelihood of Coups by keeping good relations with vassals, keeping their influence high, and hiring loyal vassals.
* In normal-sized AI factions, Plots should take a long time to occur, but in large factions Plots are much more common, and biased along cultural lines. This way, cultures can return to the game in the form of a different faction after being wiped out, and overpowered factions get broken up into more entities.

Revolutions:
* Each kingdom has a visible Stability rating, which starts at 100% at the beginning of the game.
* Stability is reduced each year, based on number of fiefs in the faction plus time since the last Revolution occurred.
* Stability is increased each year for every fief that has good or neutral Security and Loyalty.
* If Stability ever reaches 0%, a Revolution will begin; up to half the fiefs in the kingdom with below neutral Security/Loyalty (prioritizing fiefs of a different culture to the original kingdom's) generate rebel clans, and instantly secede, to create a new kingdom with a new name (generated from a list of names) and the same culture as one of the rebel fiefs.
* The old kingdom declares war on the new "traitor" kingdom.
* The mechanic is balanced so that small-medium kingdoms have almost zero risk of revolution, so the player does not have to deal with it while trying to establish their kingdom. But in the late game, once the AI factions reach very large sizes, civil wars can be somewhat common to forcibly "balance" them, splitting them back into regular sizes. And in the end-game, when the player has conquered all other factions and painted the whole map their color, revolutions become a constant threat and a main enemy.

I just wrote this for fun though. Notgonnahappen.
feasts would also have other features (major tournaments, relations building, etc) in order to persuade players to take part in them.
Yes, bring back feasts for sure. Even Taleworlds should be able to manage that.
 
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Danny5

Sergeant
I agree to all of these, this can create more dynamic to the game and would be a great late game too. The empire factions are in civil war, why can't other kingdoms do the same?
 
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