Speculating Delay, Lengthy Read

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Chrymzon

Recruit
I can't believe this flew right over my head, but TaleWorlds is located in Ankara, Turkey.

For those that don't know, in 2016 there was a failure of a coup d'état attempt that swept across all of Turkey, and a severe crack down by government officials quickly afterwards.

One of the main places that was targeted during the coup d'état was Ankara, where TaleWorlds resides. I don't know why TaleWorlds haven't mentioned this issue themselves, it might be out of fear considering that Turkey isn't the most hospitable place in the world. It would definitely be safer for them to stay clear of politics as much as possible and just focus on what brings them joy, like Mount and Blade.

I think this is probably one of the most likely reasons, which is why I mentioned it first.


The next possibility is that they have been having difficulties with the creation of a few of their factions. Out of all of the factions we have seen, there are still three that have not been showcased, as far as I know. These factions being: Aserai, Northern Empire, and Sturgians.

The Aserai have appeared as enemies, but never as the player themselves.

It is difficult for me to tell if we have seen the Northern Empire or not, considering that the Empire factions will supposedly be using the same units. From what I recall, we have only seen the Orange and Purple within gameplay. The Northern Empire has more of a pink or light purple color that has yet to be seen.

Sturgians have not yet appeared in any capacity and are definitely the most secretive of the bunch. They might be having difficulty with the development of this particular faction. Perhaps they are too bland, or their gameplay isn't as exciting to watch as the others. Perhaps they are struggling to differentiate them from the other factions and provide them with their own identity.

It might also be just a balancing issue. If Sturgians are supposed to be a mix of the Nords and Vaegirs, they may have the strongest infantry in the game, along with competent cavalry. Now that sounds terrifying.


The last point I want to bring up is their experimental game mechanics. They are attempting to add in features that weren't in the original title and the two mechanics that stand out the most to me are permadeath/inheritance/aging and possibly co-op.

I don't know why, but there are no YouTube channels out there that point out the change in the calendar system. If one pays close attention to the overworld map, you will see that they have removed months of the year and have replaced them with seasons. I am imagining that this will work similar to Harvest Moon, where each season is about 30 days, 4 seasons per year. We have already been told that they are attempting to age the player within the game. Based off of this information, I assume that it might be possible to play as your offspring upon your death, similar to Crusader Kings. There has also been mention that you may be able to kill a noble once you have defeated them in battle, but we have not yet been shown any of these gameplay mechanics in practice, so it is unclear if these will even be in the game upon release.

These particular gameplay mechanics must be incredibly difficult to test because you will have to play a full campaign to see exactly how this will effect the player. Pacing these mechanics out so that it feels perfect must also be an extremely tedious process. I imagine that the developers would also want to ensure that it is possible to conquer the entire map before your character dies of old age.

As for co-op, I wish they would just forsake it. It isn't necessary to the game's foundation. I would prefer it if they release it as a form of DLC further down the pipeline rather than have it at initial release, IF it is the cause for the game's delay. If this is honestly what is holding the game back I would be slightly angry. Co-op in a game like this has never been done before, so it is not like there is a formula that we know will work. The closest possible thing would be the Paradox Entertainment games like Crusader Kings or Europa Universalis. In interviews, they say that they have been testing out co-op possibilities, but have denied that it will be in the game because they have yet to find a working formula.
 

John_M

Subforum Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Chrymzon said:
The next possibility is that they have been having difficulties with the creation of a few of their factions. Out of all of the factions we have seen, there are still three that have not been showcased, as far as I know. These factions being: Aserai, Northern Empire, and Sturgians.
The Aserai have appeared as enemies, but never as the player themselves.
Was the E3 siege video not Sturgia? And I think one of the multiplayer videos had Aserai, but would it matter if they are enemies or not?  I don't see how that really means anything in the creation of the faction. That only leaves the Northern Empire, but if they are all similar there shouldn't be anything particularly difficult about making them. 

Chrymzon said:
I don't know why, but there are no YouTube channels out there that point out the change in the calendar system.
We had a whole blog about this topic, it just didn't mention the specific way they were gonna measure time, so it's not really new information.
 

578

Banned
WBVCNWWF&SM&B
The coup had nothing to do with the delay, it was not even real. Also we have seen Sturgians gameplay. Empire units will not be the same, we know that one of them has very heavy infantry while another one has a Rhodok-kinda mix with infantry, cav and crossbows.
 

CaptainLee

Sergeant Knight
The delay is most likely due to the new features taking longer than expected to implement properly as TW have alluded to, rather than Erdogan turning up every Tuesday and administering his weekly loyalty test on the TW employees.
 

Chrymzon

Recruit
John.M said:
Was the E3 siege video not Sturgia? And I think one of the multiplayer videos had Aserai, but would it matter if they are enemies or not?  I don't see how that really means anything in the creation of the faction. That only leaves the Northern Empire, but if they are all similar there shouldn't be anything particularly difficult about making them. 

I never noticed that those were the Sturgians, thanks for pointing that out. I should have been able to tell by the color of their shields, but I didn't because I was assuming that their shields would be the color of their family crest, not which faction they belong to, since it was the first gameplay for Bannerlord. I also never took a proper look at their armor, which was my fault completely.

My point still stands for open field battles and multiplayer though, right? It definitely looks like Sturgians have heavy infantry, so it will be interesting to see the type of cavalry they have. The most I can tell from their picture is that they might have lancers. Their cavalry might be similar to the Khuzait Lancers shown in the leaked gameplay video by Elwaen. Something peculiar is that the lancers in the video don't appear to be able to do couching damage. Maybe the person playing didn't know how to do a couching charge? I know it is possible based on some footage of the Vlandians.

There are plenty of questions I still have about the Aserai, like do they still have javelins? The Sturgians in the Siege gameplay had Javelins, even the player did, but he decided to not use them. Is there still a version of Mamlukes? It seems like the Aserai have more of a focus on infantry than cavalry. I never got a good look of their cavalry since they were wiped out fairly quickly. I would like to know if the troops in the video were only infantry because the AI had very low-tiered units, or if that was the normal composition of an Aserai army. The Aserai archers seems to be pretty good, like the ones from the Sarranids. My guess from the footage we have seen of the Aserai is that the player was going up against fairly low-tiered units, so that the player could wipe them out and look really cool for the video. So, I would say it matters because we are being given a false image of how the Aserai army actually functions when optimized.

John.M said:
We had a whole blog about this topic, it just didn't mention the specific way they were gonna measure time, so it's not really new information.

Are you talking about "Developer Blog 12 - The Passage Of Time"? Even though that was the title, it spoke mainly about how the economy functions, topography, and weather conditions. They mentioned "One major change from Warband is how time progresses; the yearly cycle has been shortened to twelve weeks, which adds more importance to the changing seasons and ageing of characters". It is easy to gloss over, and I didn't see it either. It is important that they do admit that they are attempting to age the characters with time though, and my overall point of that paragraph is that it must be time consuming to test a feature like that, especially since that will tie in to how your offspring(s) may inherit your lands, and anything else that may be impacted by the character's aging.
 

Chrymzon

Recruit
578 said:
The coup had nothing to do with the delay, it was not even real. Also we have seen Sturgians gameplay. Empire units will not be the same, we know that one of them has very heavy infantry while another one has a Rhodok-kinda mix with infantry, cav and crossbows.

I am not sure if stating that the coup was not even real is entirely accurate, but if you insist that is the case I will not argue with you. You are right, we have seen Sturgian gameplay in a siege, but as far as I am aware we haven't seen them in the open field or in multiplayer. Siege gameplay is a pretty different beast, and we never got to see their cavalry in action. It was my fault for not noticing they were Sturgians.

I am happy that the Empire units will not be the same. If you have a place you can point me to that discusses this topic, I would appreciate it.
 

578

Banned
WBVCNWWF&SM&B
Chrymzon said:
578 said:
The coup had nothing to do with the delay, it was not even real. Also we have seen Sturgians gameplay. Empire units will not be the same, we know that one of them has very heavy infantry while another one has a Rhodok-kinda mix with infantry, cav and crossbows.

I am not sure if stating that the coup was not even real is entirely accurate, but if you insist that is the case I will not argue with you. You are right, we have seen Sturgian gameplay in a siege, but as far as I am aware we haven't seen them in the open field or in multiplayer. Siege gameplay is a pretty different beast, and we never got to see their cavalry in action. It was my fault for not noticing they were Sturgians.

I am happy that the Empire units will not be the same. If you have a place you can point me to that discusses this topic, I would appreciate it.


what i mean by not real is that it was staged. it was the 9/11 moment of turkey.
 

Ki-Ok Khan

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord - Unofficial Information Archive

https://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,364140.0.html
 

John_M

Subforum Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Chrymzon said:
My point still stands for open field battles and multiplayer though, right?
There are plenty of questions I still have about the Aserai
I'm also interested to see what has be done with the factions, though I don't think you need to worry about balance. It does look like they follow a more Nordic play style, the comment on inspiration from Vaegirs as well may just be in design/culture and not necessarily battle tactics.

Chrymzon said:
Are you talking about "Developer Blog 12 - The Passage Of Time"? Even though that was the title, it spoke mainly about how the economy functions, topography, and weather conditions. They mentioned "One major change from Warband is how time progresses; the yearly cycle has been shortened to twelve weeks, which adds more importance to the changing seasons and ageing of characters".
Yeah, my bad. Thought they went more in depth about it. I hope we get to see this ageing of characters at some point.
 

kae66

Recruit
578 said:
Empire units will not be the same, we know that one of them has very heavy infantry while another one has a Rhodok-kinda mix with infantry, cav and crossbows.

That's nice! Where can I find the relative information about this? I wanna see it :grin:( It is so cool to have a change in the unit tree in the middle of a game when the empire splits).
 

whatwhat1

Recruit
First, I just want to say that I am in no way hating on Taleworlds or anyone who works there. I love their current game titles, I like the dev blogs, and I also am on the side they I would rather wait some more and  obtain a fully polished game than a buggy and 3/4 done one. However I just had to ask this question, will Taleworlds give us a little bit more insight into the problems and set backs they faced in development. I understand they can't do that right now, and I'm not saying that I want them to go into massive detail, but will they give us a description of the things that set them back and how they overcame them to get Bannerlord to release?
 

BayBear

Knight
I'd love to see a behind the scenes documentary that answers these kinds of questions after release like this one with Bungie and the making of Halo 2 - https://youtu.be/0q69Msy8ttM
 

84Slashes

Veteran
I had this thought when re-watching footage from Gamescom '16. 

It seems very clear that a key design principle that TW has followed in Bannerlord is that AI lords follow the same rules as players. Explicit examples they've given in blogs are recruitment, criminal gangs, hiring companions, and setting up productive enterprises, but I would assume most game systems follow this principle.  I love this idea in theory, as it makes the deep economic simulation aspect of the game more meaningful -- defeating an army has real consequences for the enemy, they can't just magically create new recruits out of nowhere.  Buying up commercial space in their towns or disrupting their towns through crime actually hurts their income.  Sounds wonderful.

What I'm wondering is whether TW found that AI playing by the same rules led to an imbalanced campaign that was stupidly easy for the player.  Many games that simulate enemy AI (e.g. Civilization, Total War) struggle so much to make it a challenge that they end up being forced to 'cheat' for the AI (giving them free income, lower penalties, etc.).  Could it be that during testing, TW found that forcing the AI to the same rules as the player made them pretty useless?  Could this be one reason it's taken longer than they thought to get this right?

It would be great to get more info about this aspect in a future blog.  Even if it turns out it hasn't been a challenge at all -- which by the way would be an amazing achievement, serious kudos to TaleWorlds if that's the case, you've solved a problem many studios have struggled with! -- it would still be nice to hear about any surprising or unintended behaviors from the game AI due to this new ruleset for lords.
 
I suspect this laudable objective has primarily been pursued with regard to party behaviour on the campaign map. It is difficult to see any reason to code ai Lords to complete trial by combat quests for example - as most quests are purely for player immersion. [Edit - I would use a shortcut or formula to build ai Lord relationships with notable NPCs for recruitment purposes etc.].

Anything that adds complexity, adds to development timescales.

Will a level playing field improve game balance? We’ll have to wait and see. However, it is absolutely certain that many single player mods will probably ignore this principle and build in further player advantages/exploits. There is always a great demand for cheat options.
 
There are some games that nail this though. I think age of empires 2 is one of them. If TW believes they too can nail this, they shall try. Because it is pretty cool.
 
Old Sid Meier games tended to have a decent, challenging AI. They were playtested during development, and AI was developed to use or counter player strategies, always a good idea.
Warband's greatest AI weakness was in battles (they had a decent decision tree on the strategy map, except for the unfortunate feasts) - crude use of formations and lack of a effective counter-tactics for hit-and-run player attacks. I hope they pay attention this time and work with their testers. And I hope they have good, motivated testers that are going to find the possible exploits before we do.

NPC99 said:
However, it is absolutely certain that many single player mods will probably ignore this principle and build in further player advantages/exploits. There is always a great demand for cheat options.
Cheats are demanded by casuals who want to breeze through the game and move on. In my experience, committed players don't use cheats except to circumvent bugs or some annoying feature.
 

Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
Rodrigo Ribaldo said:
Old Sid Meier games tended to have a decent, challenging AI. They were playtested during development, and AI was developed to use or counter player strategies, always a good idea.
Warband's greatest AI weakness was in battles (they had a decent decision tree on the strategy map, except for the unfortunate feasts) - crude use of formations and lack of a effective counter-tactics for hit-and-run player attacks. I hope they pay attention this time and work with their testers. And I hope they have good, motivated testers that are going to find the possible exploits before we do.

NPC99 said:
However, it is absolutely certain that many single player mods will probably ignore this principle and build in further player advantages/exploits. There is always a great demand for cheat options.
Cheats are demanded by casuals who want to breeze through the game and move on. In my experience, committed players don't use cheats except to circumvent bugs or some annoying feature.

If we have an I.A. like the one we can find on Alpha Centauri, boi... I will be satisfied.

One of the "worries" I have about how Bannerlord will develop, is if you really establish that AI with three levels in battle that presumably is expected enough. Although it is hardcored, I hope™ that Taleworlds as long as the AI leaves the bar at acceptable levels...

AI smart and surprising in battle + AI convincing at diplomatic level = Terco_Viejo guaranteed purchase.
 

Seleucid

Regular
They have likely already fixed this if it was a problem: lords already get cheats in that they start with lands but the player doesn't. What is more likely the thing that is drawing out the game's development is the late game CK2 features. The late game will probably require large parts of the AI to be reprogrammed. Hopefully after the player has conquered the entire map there is a government simulation to try to keep every where stable but eventually leads to external invasions and rebellions.
 
Seleucid said:
They have likely already fixed this if it was a problem: lords already get cheats in that they start with lands but the player doesn't.
That's an interesting observation that can lead to new gameplay options (in mods, Bannerlord is late already):
- a noble start for the player where he has some lands and relations like AI lords
- "everyone is adventurer" start: every noble NPC starts as the player with some equipment, few skills and plenty of potential; towns and castles are neutral and independent; kingdoms and feudal hierarchies will develop "naturally"; the major kingdoms have preset names and cultures and need to be claimed
 
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