The approach to MP has failed, and what could be done to revive it

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AxiosXiphos

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
A problem with 'competitive' M&B is the high skill game modes are just frankly boring to watch. Watching two Duellists fight is interesting from a mechanics point of view; but its not really a game mode that produces much commentary or visual excitement. No one unfamiliar to M&B is going to enjoy viewing it.

On the other end - the lower skill modes Captains Mode / Battle - would actually be far more appealing to a viewer; as they can instantly connect with what is happening. However these modes just aren't inducive to a highly competitive format. Battle mode relies on having a large number of people, connected with good ping and working together - which isn't feasible for the majority of players. Captains mode relies on bots; which will always prevent it being reliably competitive.
 

Brandis.

Subforum Moderator
A problem with 'competitive' M&B is the high skill game modes are just frankly boring to watch. Watching two Duellists fight is interesting from a mechanics point of view; but its not really a game mode that produces much commentary or visual excitement. No one unfamiliar to M&B is going to enjoy viewing it.

On the other end - the lower skill modes Captains Mode / Battle - would actually be far more appealing to a viewer; as they can instantly connect with what is happening. However these modes just aren't inducive to a highly competitive format.
6v6 ranked battle would be a lot of fun.
 

BayBear

Knight
I'm excited for LOTR Minas Tirith & Helms Deep limited life battle servers. Modded custom servers can't come soon enough
 

five bucks

Knight
The game can be in a bad state and still be worth the price tag. It's apparent when you consider the noticeable anger for lack of things, but still positive review of the SP overall.
No. The anger comes from the people who are still playing, while the positive reviews come from the streamer crowd who breeze in, enjoy the visual spectacle of a couple of depthless 1000 man mindless blob battles, leave a thumbs up review saying "lol butter", and leave after 10 hours for the next game their streamer likes.

There are plenty of people who will give a positive review even to a game that they don't think is worth the cost so long as they didn't actually hate it. Because Steam has no neutral review option.
Saying the game is not worth the price tag is straight out stupid when talking about the SP.
Saying a game can be in a bad state and worth the price tag is straight out stupid. Like it's a fundamental contradiction of what the words mean.
 

Aliaksandr

Sergeant at Arms
In my opinion M&B is a unique game. In any other game, I haven't seen such an incredible depth of potential for increasing gaming skills and a variety of options for usage it. And this means that in terms of the gameplay M&B has every opportunity to be the most competitive game. Another thing is that it's a rather niche game in terms of the game's plot.
 

Younes

Grandmaster Knight
WBWF&SNWVC
No. The anger comes from the people who are still playing, while the positive reviews come from the streamer crowd who breeze in, enjoy the visual spectacle of a couple of depthless 1000 man mindless blob battles, leave a thumbs up review saying "lol butter", and leave after 10 hours for the next game their streamer likes.

There are plenty of people who will give a positive review even to a game that they don't think is worth the cost so long as they didn't actually hate it. Because Steam has no neutral review option.
You're severely overestimating the players streamers brought, i watch twitch and the only noticeable people I can think of are Hassan, who is turk which is a bit obvious one there and Lirik, who has been known to play strategy games. You can consider Forsen, but he just plays everything thrown at him anyhow.

Yes, most people are not going to spend 1000 hours because all the people you see on the forums are mostly the diehard fans. Do you really not realize that most people don't spend that much time on videogames?


Saying a game can be in a bad state and worth the price tag is straight out stupid. Like it's a fundamental contradiction of what the words mean.
You have to kid yourself to still not believe what i said about being in a bad state and still being worth the money when most people here have thousands of hours but are still critical about the game.

It tends to be the high hours players who have the most to say about the game because they love the game the most, doesn't mean they didn't get their hours out of their money. Someone who has 1000 hours and has the audacity to say he didn't get the most out of his money is just stupid. You don't spend 1000 hours on a game just like that if you don't see the future in it.

I should probably rephrase bad state into something more clear, but I don't exactly have the word for it for the singleplayer anyhow.
 

FearSpear

Squire
Duellists fight is interesting from a mechanics point of view; but its not really a game mode that produces much commentary or visual excitement.
Well maybe not visual excitement but a good commentator that is skilled enough to have a deeper understanding of how the duel is going can have plenty of compelling commentary.
 

Orion

Still Not Worthy
Global Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNW
On the other end - the lower skill modes Captains Mode / Battle - would actually be far more appealing to a viewer; as they can instantly connect with what is happening. However these modes just aren't inducive to a highly competitive format. Battle mode relies on having a large number of people, connected with good ping and working together - which isn't feasible for the majority of players. Captains mode relies on bots; which will always prevent it being reliably competitive.
Battle was the competitive gold standard in Warband. The only thing that beat it for player count was siege in NA, but the only consistently popular siege server was GK and it had a higher slot count than any of the battle servers. Looking at ratios of slots filled to slots available on servers throughout the day, battle was as good at maintaining population on servers as siege. The public servers offered higher player counts than the competitive standard (which stuck around a team size of 7 or 8 throughout the years), but the general consensus was that this was worse for organized matches for a few reasons. Other than the increased scheduling difficulty for each added player on a team, larger team sizes in matches would cause certain faction strengths or weaknesses to be exaggerated.

For instance, Nords did not have access to armored horses, and in a 7vs7 match that's not such a big deal because you'll have more opportunities to create space between yourself and opponents. They are fewer in number and cannot cover as much ground, which also gives you increased opportunities to steal an armored horse from a dead opponent because you'll typically be facing less pressure. Regardless, your team was likely to run two or fewer cavalry as Nords because of their limited viability. Conversely, strong cavalry factions such as Swadia were discouraged from running horribly lopsided compositions because every individual was highly valuable and running too short on infantry or ranged created a weakness in those areas. This is all with consideration given to the map, naturally, and it goes without saying that some maps handle high player counts better than others. Field by the River could easily manage a pub server of 16vs16, but that many bozos scrambling around a map like Nord Town was always a circus. Back to my original point, if you put Nords vs Swadians on Nord Town at 7vs7 they're competitive with each other and one of the most even matchups you can get. If you push that number higher, even something close like 10vs10, outcomes start to skew in favor of Nords. The limited accessibly of cav in the map denies Swadians the ability to proportionately field their strongest unit, while the Nords favor higher infantry counts the most of all the factions.

There were attempts through the years to change the status quo, both smaller and larger, but none of them stuck. Teams of 7 or 8 were good because you'd have moments where an individual's own skill could stand out, and others where players who you knew weren't total studs still dominated through clearly superior teamwork. It was fairly easy to keep track of individuals in a melee because of custom shields and equipment variety, and it was feasible for viewers to be familiar with and recognize players on teams even if the viewers themselves weren't serious players. On smaller team sizes, individual skill matters significantly more and outshines teamwork, while larger sizes quickly become too messy to keep track of.
 

AxiosXiphos

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
I should mention when I say battle - I meant big-team battle. 50 vs 50. Arguably yes the best compromise between 'skill' and visual fidelity is something like 6 - 8 players per side.

I guess that was TW's idea with Skirmish; and while I don't hate skirmish - I think the life economy is a very strange thing mechanically.

As Orion points out though - the way M&B organises it's teams into cultures is also an issue if we want a truly competitive game. Some factions are frankly better then others; or at least better in regard to certain maps.

Overall - I just don't believe M&B is a game well suited to highly competitive gameplay. People are more than welcome to try it; but I don't really believe there is anything TW could have done which would have made it anymore then a niche interest. Frankly I don't think they should have bothered trying to.
 

five bucks

Knight
You're severely overestimating the players streamers brought
I also mean Youtubers when I say "streamers", which is my bad.
It tends to be the high hours players who have the most to say about the game because they love the game the most, doesn't mean they didn't get their hours out of their money. Someone who has 1000 hours and has the audacity to say he didn't get the most out of his money is just stupid. You don't spend 1000 hours on a game just like that if you don't see the future in it.
If I sit on a poker machine for 1000 hours, and ended up breaking even, did I get the most out of my money? I spent a lot of time there, but did I have fun?

It's not enough for a game to simply be capable of sucking up your time for 100s of hours, it needs to be fun too. Bannerlord keeps a lot of those high hour-count players coming back because they're checking if the game is fun yet, or testing things that are broken, and the process of doing this is time consuming.
Yes, most people are not going to spend 1000 hours because all the people you see on the forums are mostly the diehard fans. Do you really not realize that most people don't spend that much time on videogames?
You're jumping right to the other end of the spectrum by saying 1000 hours. Let's say 100 is a reasonable amount for this type of game to get a few campaigns in. In this type of game that's reasonable.

As said above, this type of game at this price needs to be fun for the long time that campaigns take.

Let's look at recent positive reviews:

Shades_godown, 20 hours - "murder people fun fun times yes".

I_ZIPTYED_MY_PENIS, 14 hours - "vghbjm".

jolti, 20 hours - "horse. NEED CO-OP. 7/10"

cristina.schaffer20, 6.5 hours - "i love the game but it likes to crash yes"

miniterjack, 15 hours - "fun"

epla svla1, 2.3 hours - "sww" (product refunded, despite positive review)

chickadee, *5 hours* - "sword"

Nobody here would have even finished even one campaign in 5 hours. How are they supposed to be able to say it's fun to play through a campaign?

So I do not think reviews like these are any sort of reliable indicator of whether the game is in a good state, or good value for money. Being playable for 100 of hours is not enough, if it's going to cost AAA money it needs to be *fun* for 100 hours.
You have to kid yourself to still not believe what i said about being in a bad state and still being worth the money when most people here have thousands of hours but are still critical about the game.

I should probably rephrase bad state into something more clear, but I don't exactly have the word for it for the singleplayer anyhow.
Doing a playthrough of Bannerlord takes up heaps of time, that doesn't necessarily mean someone is having the time of their lives slowly moving from Lageta to Qasira to Chaikand dropping off herds, then sitting through a blob battle of 1000 complete idiots, then looking at a recruitment menu, rinse and repeat.

A game with this many serious bugs, gamebreaking balance problems, missing and incomplete features is accurately described as "in a bad state". That's not to say that it doesn't have a lot going for it, or that it doesn't have great potential which keeps you interested, or that you can't salvage tiny bits of fun here and there which keep you coming back to try it out in case they've finally fixed it.
 

Younes

Grandmaster Knight
WBWF&SNWVC
If I sit on a poker machine for 1000 hours, and ended up breaking even, did I get the most out of my money? I spent a lot of time there, but did I have fun?

It's not enough for a game to simply be capable of sucking up your time for 100s of hours, it needs to be fun too. Bannerlord keeps a lot of those high hour-count players coming back because they're checking if the game is fun yet, or testing things that are broken, and the process of doing this is time consuming.
A poker machine is a bad analogy. You're comparing people who are unhealthy and addicted to something that might ruin their life but keep going on the 0.5% chance the house might not win, and the other is people who come home and want to use their time to have fun in a game.

Yes, it's not enough for a game to just suck up your hours. But you have to be kidding yourself to say those thousand hours people come back and casually launch a 100 hours campaign if they didn't have the slightest fun in it. The early game granted is the most fun game loop of the game, but no need to go deep into it since this is the MP section.

You're jumping right to the other end of the spectrum by saying 1000 hours. Let's say 100 is a reasonable amount for this type of game to get a few campaigns in. In this type of game that's reasonable.

As said above, this type of game at this price needs to be fun for the long time that campaigns take.

Let's look at recent positive reviews:

Shades_godown, 20 hours - "murder people fun fun times yes".

I_ZIPTYED_MY_PENIS, 14 hours - "vghbjm".

jolti, 20 hours - "horse. NEED CO-OP. 7/10"

cristina.schaffer20, 6.5 hours - "i love the game but it likes to crash yes"

miniterjack, 15 hours - "fun"

epla svla1, 2.3 hours - "sww" (product refunded, despite positive review)

chickadee, *5 hours* - "sword"

Nobody here would have even finished even one campaign in 5 hours. How are they supposed to be able to say it's fun to play through a campaign?
Yes, some random people will give the game a positive review after 5 hours of gameplay. Does this same abnormal to you? I could nitpick you the same kind of people with barely any hours, but with a negative review.

This is where a fun feature, steam labs, gives you a better insight.

186,321 all: 87% positive
181,639 over 1 hour: 88% positive
136,248 over 10 hours: 88% positive
29,690 over 100 hours: 85% positive

Considering all of this, the reviews of the below 100 hours doesn't even change anything to the reviews. The 30k players who have over 100 hours still gave it positive reviews when we concluded that 100 hours should be sufficient. Unless you're implying the positive reviews of those people is negative in some way?

Doing a playthrough of Bannerlord takes up heaps of time, that doesn't necessarily mean someone is having the time of their lives slowly moving from Lageta to Qasira to Chaikand dropping off herds, then sitting through a blob battle of 1000 complete idiots, then looking at a recruitment menu, rinse and repeat.

A game with this many serious bugs, gamebreaking balance problems, missing and incomplete features is accurately described as "in a bad state". That's not to say that it doesn't have a lot going for it, or that it doesn't have great potential which keeps you interested, or that you can't salvage tiny bits of fun here and there which keep you coming back to try it out in case they've finally fixed it.

I agree that mount and blade takes heaps of time to do things. But that's what you signed up for, honestly. The game loop involves going around the map for most of the time, and that is a core aspect of the game.

I envy people like you who play singleplayer almost exclusivly. You call the singleplayer "in a bad state" while the multiplayer has been running by no more than like 3 devs for 2 years now with a community that is full on doomer mentality about the state of the multiplayer with devs incompetent at taking anything warband did good.
 

Aliaksandr

Sergeant at Arms
A poker machine is a bad analogy. You're comparing people who are unhealthy and addicted to something that might ruin their life but keep going on the 0.5% chance the house might not win, and the other is people who come home and want to use their time to have fun in a game.

Yes, it's not enough for a game to just suck up your hours. But you have to be kidding yourself to say those thousand hours people come back and casually launch a 100 hours campaign if they didn't have the slightest fun in it. The early game granted is the most fun game loop of the game, but no need to go deep into it since this is the MP section.
what you are saying sounds like drug addicts denying their addiction
 
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five bucks

Knight
A poker machine is a bad analogy. You're comparing people who are unhealthy and addicted to something that might ruin their life but keep going on the 0.5% chance the house might not win, and the other is people who come home and want to use their time to have fun in a game.
And we're a little addicted to the hope that Bannerlord SP and MP will be fun and reach its full potential one day which is why we still post here and why we still come back and do playthroughs when patches come out. If we thought it would never get any better none of us would still be on the forum and I think quite a few would quit playing outright.
Yes, it's not enough for a game to just suck up your hours. But you have to be kidding yourself to say those thousand hours people come back and casually launch a 100 hours campaign if they didn't have the slightest fun in it
Getting the "slightest" fun out of a game in 10-100 hours of play means it's in a bad state, that's my entire point. I already said a small amount of fun can be derived from Bannerlord, but overall it is not a fun game due to its many major, unignorable problems.
I could nitpick you the same kind of people with barely any hours, but with a negative review.
Not the same thing. When playing a game that takes 10s of hours per playthrough, 5 hours isn't enough to say that a playthrough is good, but even 1 hour is enough to say that a playthrough is bad if you boot it up and the game just crashes instantly. Which has happened with Bannerlord for me before.
This is where a fun feature, steam labs, gives you a better insight.

186,321 all: 87% positive
181,639 over 1 hour: 88% positive
136,248 over 10 hours: 88% positive
29,690 over 100 hours: 85% positive

Considering all of this, the reviews of the below 100 hours doesn't even change anything to the reviews. The 30k players who have over 100 hours still gave it positive reviews when we concluded that 100 hours should be sufficient.
This is good data. My point about hours was that everyone under 10 hours - which is 50,000 of the votes! - is unable to do a full playthrough and so unqualified to say that a full playthrough is fun or not. Especially when lategame is the worst, most frustrating part of the game.

I can't deny there are people who gave positive reviews after 100 hours, however I can say what I said earlier:
Unless you're implying the positive reviews of those people is negative in some way?
Some of them genuinely are. You can find positive reviews that say the game is deeply flawed but has potential, you can also find reviews that say the game sucks but mods make it good.

One of the top positive reviews 16 people found helpful, by makaramkr77: "Honestly, I really miss Warband. I wish it would be a new version of Warband with new updated graphic. One thing that Bannerlord is better is clan mechanic and trade. Bannerlord removes most of warband's features that I am really disappointed. I recommend this game only because I still have hope that developers will make it better it is in Early Access though."

Positive review from Asian Small-Clawed Otter: "Has a long way to go. Needs more quest content, more depth, some fixes, added character interactions and dialogue and alot more."

Positive review from Julesdav: "(...) The game is buggy, yes. Some of the bugs are obnoxious, yes. There are portions of content missing that are sorely needed. (...) It is clear from the two very quick patches it has already seen that this early access is one that Taleworlds are committed to building upon. Bugs will be worked out, content will be added, and I am firmly of the faith that the game will continue to evolve and take shape over the coming days, weeks and months. Everyone is well within their rights to leave a negative review, but I would encourage people not to damage the game's rating unfairly, as the current release is not indicative of the finished product." So in other words, the game is highly flawed but he's leaving a positive review because he hopes it will become better.

This positive review https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197993864830/recommended/261550/ is too long to copy verbatim here, but in summary the user lists a LONG list of bugs and problems, describes it as a "micromanagement HELL", and finishes off by saying "I would still recommend it because it's fun for a while but it needs a huge QoL update." Now to me, that sounds like a "bad state", despite the positive review.

https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197995202648/recommended/261550/ "Short version: If there was a tentative recommendation button, I'd be using it."

TL;DR: A positive review does not necessarily equal satisfaction with the current state of the game. It is just as likely to equal dissatisfaction with the game only saved from a thumbs down by the hope™ that it will get better.

I agree that mount and blade takes heaps of time to do things. But that's what you signed up for, honestly. The game loop involves going around the map for most of the time, and that is a core aspect of the game.
Yeah, but that loop should be fun. There isn't enough fun in the fun:time ratio.
I envy people like you who play singleplayer almost exclusivly. You call the singleplayer "in a bad state" while the multiplayer has been running by no more than like 3 devs for 2 years now with a community that is full on doomer mentality about the state of the multiplayer with devs incompetent at taking anything warband did good.
We don't need to make this into an SP versus MP thing. Just because MP has it worse doesn't mean SP doesn't have it bad too.
 
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Younes

Grandmaster Knight
WBWF&SNWVC
And we're a little addicted to the hope that Bannerlord SP and MP will be fun and reach its full potential one day which is why we still post here and why we still come back and do playthroughs when patches come out. If we thought it would never get any better none of us would still be on the forum and I think quite a few would quit playing outright.

Getting the "slightest" fun out of a game in 10-100 hours of play means it's in a bad state, that's my entire point. I already said a small amount of fun can be derived from Bannerlord, but overall it is not a fun game due to its many major, unignorable problems.

Not the same thing. When playing a game that takes 10s of hours per playthrough, 5 hours isn't enough to say that a playthrough is good, but even 1 hour is enough to say that a playthrough is bad if you boot it up and the game just crashes instantly. Which has happened with Bannerlord for me before.

This is good data. My point about hours was that everyone under 10 hours - which is 50,000 of the votes! - is unable to do a full playthrough and so unqualified to say that a full playthrough is fun or not. Especially when lategame is the worst, most frustrating part of the game.

I can't deny there are people who gave positive reviews after 100 hours, however I can say what I said earlier:

Some of them genuinely are. You can find positive reviews that say the game is deeply flawed but has potential, you can also find reviews that say the game sucks but mods make it good.

One of the top positive reviews 16 people found helpful, by makaramkr77: "Honestly, I really miss Warband. I wish it would be a new version of Warband with new updated graphic. One thing that Bannerlord is better is clan mechanic and trade. Bannerlord removes most of warband's features that I am really disappointed. I recommend this game only because I still have hope that developers will make it better it is in Early Access though."

Positive review from Asian Small-Clawed Otter: "Has a long way to go. Needs more quest content, more depth, some fixes, added character interactions and dialogue and alot more."

Positive review from Julesdav: "(...) The game is buggy, yes. Some of the bugs are obnoxious, yes. There are portions of content missing that are sorely needed. (...) It is clear from the two very quick patches it has already seen that this early access is one that Taleworlds are committed to building upon. Bugs will be worked out, content will be added, and I am firmly of the faith that the game will continue to evolve and take shape over the coming days, weeks and months. Everyone is well within their rights to leave a negative review, but I would encourage people not to damage the game's rating unfairly, as the current release is not indicative of the finished product." So in other words, the game is highly flawed but he's leaving a positive review because he hopes it will become better.

This positive review https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197993864830/recommended/261550/ is too long to copy verbatim here, but in summary the user lists a LONG list of bugs and problems, describes it as a "micromanagement HELL", and finishes off by saying "I would still recommend it because it's fun for a while but it needs a huge QoL update." Now to me, that sounds like a "bad state", despite the positive review.

https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197995202648/recommended/261550/ "Short version: If there was a tentative recommendation button, I'd be using it."

TL;DR: A positive review does not necessarily equal satisfaction with the current state of the game. It is just as likely to equal dissatisfaction with the game only saved from a thumbs down by the hope™ that it will get better.


Yeah, but that loop should be fun. There isn't enough fun in the fun:time ratio.

We don't need to make this into an SP versus MP thing. Just because MP has it worse doesn't mean SP doesn't have it bad too.

I will stop this back and forth all the time because honestly this will just keep going to be infinite like they always do on the forums and I don't have the energy for it. I just couldn't be bothered after writing like the 3rd paragraph. Especially since it isn't even in the slight about MP while in the MP section.
 

five bucks

Knight
I will stop this back and forth all the time because honestly this will just keep going to be infinite like they always do on the forums and I don't have the energy for it. I just couldn't be bothered after writing like the 3rd paragraph. Especially since it isn't even in the slight about MP while in the MP section.
Fair enough. It's a good trait to be able to just say you're tired of arguing rather than ending with a cop-out or insult.
 

King_Bark

Regular
Remove the slow down effect that happens when you block or attack and remove or reduce the turn cap, make running speeds equal across class types, give every class a viable weapon they can be competitive with, make the time window for canceling an attack broader, make javelins good again equalize, equalize the performance of weapons in the same category so that one sword isn't much better than another, make it so you can aim couched lance more than 20 degrees in front of you
 

OurGloriousLeader

Grandmaster Knight
Remove the slow down effect that happens when you block or attack and remove or reduce the turn cap
These are bad changes. No turncap removes any timing on melee attacks, since all attacks can be the same speed (as fast as you can turn essentially), which rewards defensive play - just block their attack then insta return swing, regardless of your positioning. It was like this before and was bad. You also need combat speed vs max speed, as if everyone is max speed then kiting and drifting while fighting is even worse than the current game.

Warband had both higher turn cap and slower combat speed, and the melee in that was far superior.

Don't see why javelins need a buff either.
 

King_Bark

Regular
These are bad changes. No turncap removes any timing on melee attacks, since all attacks can be the same speed (as fast as you can turn essentially), which rewards defensive play - just block their attack then insta return swing, regardless of your positioning. It was like this before and was bad. You also need combat speed vs max speed, as if everyone is max speed then kiting and drifting while fighting is even worse than the current game.

Warband had both higher turn cap and slower combat speed, and the melee in that was far superior.

Don't see why javelins need a buff either.
The current combat feels like your feet are stuck in mud as soon as you start to block or attack, and 1 shot kill throwing spears should be in the game because it feels awesome to spike somebody close up and kill them in 1 hit. If 1 shot throwing spears are bad, then so is everything else that allows a 1 hit kill.
 
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