"Victory" conditions - which are supported and what others do you want? -- General feedback.

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Olympeus

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A sandbox game like Mount and Blade may not have a prescribed set of "victory" conditions commonly found in traditional RTS & Grand Strategy games, but an expansive sandbox game would support as wide a variety of PLAY STYLES.

I'm interested in hearing what play styles you guys would like to see in Mount and Blade (or a hypothetically similar game) and how you would see them implemented.

What to respond with:
  1. Which PLAY STYLES do you feel are currently supported?
  2. Which PLAY STYLES would you like to see supported?
  3. Elaborate.

When you respond:
  • Please try to follow the progression format I use below. I chose this simply because I think it succinctly communicates how the player would approach the game differently for each play style and how they would progress. If we all follow a similar format it will make reading this thread easier. If this doesn't work for you then use whatever format you want.
  • PLEASE feel free to elaborate on how you would like to see these play styles supported (i.e. through which game systems and mechanics). I am going to elaborate very little on my list so this post isn't 20 pages long, but I will give some small details. I separated this section so for those (like me) that want to write pages and pages so we can keep that info. separate from our bulleted lists.

1. Which PLAY STYLES do you feel are currently supported?
  • Mercenary >> Vassal >> Ruler >> Kingdom Conquest "Victory"

2. Which PLAY STYLES would you like to see supported?
  • Mercenary >> Mercenary Company >> Mercenary Empire >> Warlord "Victory"
  • Trader >> Trading Company >> Trading Empire >> Mercantile "Victory"
  • Arena Pleb >> Gladiator >> Arena Champion >> Renown "Victory"
  • Rogue >> Spy >> Spy Master >> Puppeteer "Victory"
  • Craftsman >> Weapons Guild >> Guild Master >> Arms Dealer "Victory"

3. Elaborate
  • Mercenary
    • Warlord "Victory": The mercenary can work towards a warlord victory where the land is in a perpetual state of war. This means the mercenary has to preserve kingdoms from being to keep as many different wars options open. The mercenary can eventually acquire all minor factions into their mercenary empire.
    • New systems / mechanics: A Mercenary Company tab equivalent to Clan tab. A Mercenary Empire tab equivalent to Kingdom tab. Mercenary camps, outposts, headquarters.
    • Suited Skills: Multiple combat skills, roguery, leadership, mobility
    • Suited Traits: Cruel, Valor
    • General Description: The mercenary is an independent contractor. He/she never bends the knee and pledges fealty. The mercenary company is a band of minor clans that the player can form that sell their swords to Kingdom as a unit. The mercenary company can evolve to a mercenary empire where the player has banded together 80% to 100% of minor factions and possibly even disenfranchised clans whose Kingdom is gone. The mercenary empire can make or break kingdoms. The player negotiates with rulers as a peer or in some cases superior. The mercenary empire is much more democratic and less feudal than the kingdoms. Voting occurs for policies and company actions but the primary currency is in denars not influence. The mercenary does not get to own fiefs but can have camps (player can place these on the map), outposts which are an up-scaled and fortified version of camps that the player can also place on the map. Outposts are open for some trading and can hold some prisoners. Lastly the mercenary can set-up headquarters in existing settlements provided they complete a series of epic quests, meet some predefined criteria, and have the resources to open and maintain the headquarters. The headquarters gives access to a bunch of new and existing settlement options.
  • Trader
    • Mercantile "Victory": The trader can work towards a mercantile victory where profit is the priority not conquest or ruling. While wars can be good for temporary profit, war is not sustainable. The ultimate goal of the mercantile victory is to create a lasting peace throughout the land.
    • New systems / mechanics: A trading company tab and trading empire tab equivalent to the clans and kingdom tabs today.
    • Suited Skills: Trade, charm, stewardship
    • Suited Traits: Honest, Closefisted
    • General Description: Ruling is expensive and the trader is concerned with pure profit. Therefore, the trader will have to forgo ruling a Kingdom if they want to progress to a trading empire. The trader will be able to form an obscene amount of caravans and workshops. The trader will be able to form coalitions of merchants and artisans across Kingdom boundaries. The ultimate goal of the trader will be to create a lasting peace throughout Calradia bringing prosperity to every corner of the land. Competing interests will be looters, bandits, and most importantly petty nobles and rulers. The shortsighted rulers will always be looking to make war so the trader will need extreme amounts of wealth and economic leverage to make all the various Kingdoms "play nice".
  • Arena
    • Renown "Victory": I'm not going to elaborate here as I feel I have gone on long enough. Perhaps others can share their ideas for what this would look like.
  • Rogue
    • Puppeteer "Victory": I'm not going to elaborate here as I feel I have gone on long enough. Perhaps others can share their ideas for what this would look like.
  • Craftsman
    • Arms Dealer "Victory" I'm not going to elaborate here as I feel I have gone on long enough. Perhaps others can share their ideas for what this would look like.

**A quick note on how on how I view these play styles:
In my opinion, the player should be able to participate in multiple play styles at Tier 1 (i.e. mercenary, trader, rogue) but as they progress to Tier 2 (i.e. mercenary company, trading company, spy) some play styles become incompatible with others. Once a player gets to Tier 3 (i.e. mercenary empire, trading empire, spy master), most play styles are mutually exclusive. And to achieve the "victory" condition the player will have to commit to one or the other. This will force the player to make meaningful choices in how they spend their skill points, which perks they apply, which quests they perform, and what character traits they cultivate. I also think specific skill points, perks, epic quests, and character traits should be geared to to support these play styles and force the player into those meaningful choices.​
Brief examples of meaningful choices (again I'm trying to let this become 20 pages).
  • Skill progression: A player trying to achieve the Warlord Victory would need to load up on 2 of 3 vigor kills; 2 of 3 control skills; riding or athletics; leadership; and roguery. A player trying to achieve Conquest Victory would need to leadership, steward, charm, and 1 of 3 vigor or control skills and either riding or athletics would be useful but not critical. You can see where there is some overlap (leadership and perhaps combat) but there is a lot of differentiation. With a limited number of skills that you can progress this will force meaningful choices.
  • Perks: Within the leadership tree (a skill shared by Warlords and Rulers) the perk choices at level 150+ start to become binary and support either a Warlord victory or a Kingdom Conquest victory. For example, at 275 Ultimate Leader choices could be a) you gain a ridiculous amount of influence or b) you can force minor clans into your mercenary empire.
  • Character Traits: Each character trait should benefit some play styles, hurt other play styles, and some would be neutral. For example, rogues working towards a Puppeteer victory would want devious but traders and craftsmen want honest. Mercenaries would benefit greatly from cruel and never merciful and rulers would benefit from merciful or cruel. Traders and Craftsmen would want to be viewed as closefisted but rulers would benefit from being generous. An arena champion or mercenary would benefit greatly from having valor but a spy master would be hurt by this trait (rework valor to include "notoriety" and the opposite becomes "inconspicuous").

Finally, let me preempt any misunderstanding that creating meaningful choices in character progression and supporting multiple play styles will somehow limit player choice or make this game less sandbox. This will open up this game to be much more sandbox than it is currently.

Today I feel all choices and all play styles lead to the same conclusion. Become a ruler and paint the map through conquest play style.
  • Want to be a mercenary? That is a great stepping stone to becoming a vassal and joining a Kingdom. There are options for you to play out the game as a mercenary and progress beyond 20 hours of gameplay. You can't call armies. You can't progress some skills. You can't impact the world in a meaningful way. Give me a way to collect all the minor factions and form an company of mercenaries. That is sandbox.
  • Want to be a trader? That is a great way to make some bank and save up for when jumping straight into your own kingdom. There are no options for you to create an obscene amount of caravans and coordinate the efforts or those caravans to control supply and demand on a global scale. There are no ways for you to create a coalition of artisans and traders across settlements that would transcend these petty kingdom boundaries. Do you think governments rule the world? No it's banks and corporations.
  • Want to be an arena champion? Maybe you don't want to form a warband become a vassal and rule a Kingdom. Maybe you aren't interested in a dynasty? Maybe you want to spend 1 character lifetime building up such a name for yourself that you are renown across all of Calradia as the greatest arena champion. Everyone knows your name. Maybe you can't influence the map the way you can with other play styles, but maybe Kingdoms will halt wars for a time to see you compete. Or maybe you will have so much renown that you can form your initial Kingdom directly from your name recognition....and forgoe ever being a mercenary or vassal or trader or craftsman? These options don't exist today.
  • Want to be a rogue? How about ruling from behind the scenes? What if you could become the power behind the king not just for one Kingdom but for multiple kingdoms? Imagine if you could direct when the Khuzait AND Battanians AND Aseri went to war? All from the comfort of your armchair with the assistance of a spy network and a lot of carrier pigeons. That is not a play style that is supported today.

I look forward to everyone's ideas. I don't mean to suggest that TaleWorlds could implement any of these ideas in Bannerlord. I don't know what is practical or possible at this stage of the game's development.

I view this as a purely hypothetical exercise in tinfoil hat development. So please feel free to go as big or as broad as you want with your ideas. If you want to keep you ideas grounded in reality of this game title and what may be practical feel free to do that as well. However, I've placed this thread in the general comment section and not not the suggested feedback thread for a reason.

Cheers.
 

someot

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I really like the idea of Arena Champion but not as a primary path to victory. I don't feel like it really has enough potential to satisfy a full playthrough because it only focuses on one small mechanic, whereas all the others involve some kind of conquest over the whole map. I do think it would work really well as a secondary path though, becoming the world renown gladiator and then hiring yourself out as muscle until you eventually form a mercenary empire, or using your status to get close to a king and then becoming the ultimate puppet.

I think in general, these paths should not be mutually exclusive, at least not explicitly restricted as so. Imagine becoming the main arms dealer for Calradia and utilizing your wealth to install a spy network to create perpetual war to increase your wealth, and then creating a mercenary army to function as your personal army (while also further increasing your wealth), until you eventually pull the rug out from under everyone and take over the entire realm in one swift blow. That would be fantastic (though completely unrealistic for us to ever be able to do).
 

Olympeus

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I really like the idea of Arena Champion but not as a primary path to victory. I don't feel like it really has enough potential to satisfy a full playthrough because it only focuses on one small mechanic, whereas all the others involve some kind of conquest over the whole map. I do think it would work really well as a secondary path though, becoming the world renown gladiator and then hiring yourself out as muscle until you eventually form a mercenary empire, or using your status to get close to a king and then becoming the ultimate puppet.
I totally agree. Arena Champion (at least as I was envisioning) may be better suited as a Tier 1 and Tier 2 stepping stone into a Mercenary Empire or your own Kingdom.

I think in general, these paths should not be mutually exclusive, at least not explicitly restricted as so.
You are absolutely right. I forgot to qualify that I think each of these main branches should 60, 100, or more hours for a play through. So taking multiple paths should be possible but will take double or triple the time. Especially if the path you take is more diversified and less specialized. Regarding character progression, I think the line should be drawn somewhere so you character can't be become all powerful in all aspects, but that's just my preference. I think it makes for more replay-ability.
 

NLCRich

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I totally agree. Arena Champion (at least as I was envisioning) may be better suited as a Tier 1 and Tier 2 stepping stone into a Mercenary Empire or your own Kingdom.
It may not be a victory condition per say, but my last empire character "Maximus Aurelius" essentially took this progression. The biggest problem is the more tournaments you win the more the returns diminish and the less worth it that route seems to be. I'd personally rather see some higher tier tournament with better rewards that you can unlock after a certain time, instead of tournaments eventually being worth little more than the skill xp you earn during.
 

Rycon Caldestan

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It may not be a victory condition per say, but my last empire character "Maximus Aurelius" essentially took this progression. The biggest problem is the more tournaments you win the more the returns diminish and the less worth it that route seems to be. I'd personally rather see some higher tier tournament with better rewards that you can unlock after a certain time, instead of tournaments eventually being worth little more than the skill xp you earn during.
That would be cool to enter a multi-tourney competition with progression towards top tier and eventually hero only. They would likely need more gladiators/arena champions that aren’t involved in the map (meaning they can’t get waylayed, be called to an army, killed).
 

Peanut_Brother

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I’ve got to say, I personally don’t fantasize about complete alternative progression paths to go down. TW is designing around:
A) a rather specific high level progression system (the Mercenary > Vassal > Ruler Kingdom Conquest “Victory” that you outlined) and
B) Field Battles and Sieges.
C) Managing your clan, fief’s Kingdom etc.
And I would like to just see some variations in the progression more than anything. Nothing really crazy here:

Mercenary > Vassal > Ruler > Conquer the world
Quest and trade > Support a claimant > Revolution! > see that claimant come to power
Mercenary > fight against kingdoms that are aggressors (Peacemaker) > All Kingdoms are allied

I would, however, love to see more support for being a rouge, merchant, gladiator, craftsman etc etc.. I would just like to see it come in the form of playing as:
  • A Roguish Vassal.
    • Assassinate other lords
    • Extort notables that support a certain enemy clan
    • Facilitate riots in a town to lower it's prosperity
  • A Mercenary that gained renown from fighting in the arena.
    • After a certain amount of renown, compete in Kingdom wide royal tournaments made up of lords and strong companions.
    • Recruit / train your soldiers in the arena.
    • Buy and operate a training field.
  • A Ruler that gets their way with gold from their many enterprises
    • Instead of using influence, bribe other lords to vote a certain way
    • Buy armies of mercenaries instead of the grind
  • An Adventurer! (early game)
    • Focus on quests
    • Your party size could have more companions at the cost of less overall troop size
    • After a certain amount of renown more difficult / long form quests.
  • A Political radical
    • Support a claimant who goes against the current enforced policy
    • Hold protests in towns to raise support for certain policies
    • Convince notables of your views over a game of... [insert tavern game]
Not necessarily re-writing how the game works, just adding flavor / replay-ability.


Sorry for not exactly following your format :???:. This is just how I thought I could best communicate what I was thinking.
Great post for facilitating discussion @Olympeus
 

SirTexasSir

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Why do these have to have a victory? Once they get in game time a bit more balanced (I use Pacer mod which makes it way better) than we will start to see mulit gen plays. That and some of us don't cut the heads off ever noble we fight or steam roll the week nations for easy victory. I have yet in 20+ plays "WON THE GAME" per say.


  • Mercenary >> Mercenary Company >> Mercenary Empire
  • Trader >> Trading Company >> Trading Empire >>
  • Arena Pleb >> Gladiator >> Arena Champion >>
  • Rogue >> Spy >> Spy Master >>
  • Craftsman >> Weapons Guild >> Guild Master >>
Maybe one generation will be a Trader, but than the next turns the clan more into a Mercenary, than you might have some one go off and just be Arena/Tournament master. There really shouldn't be a end goal per say since it's exactly as you said a sandbox.

Now what I would like to see is more options or even mods to support such play. I would love to do a long running mercenary play switching nations as they need to help them fight, but two things stop me from doing so. 1) Can't have your own parties join into an army as a Mercanary. 2) Mercenary can't own Castles or Towns. Would be nice if they could at least own a Castle or bring the out post we could move around and build up from viking conquest to be used with them and Trade Companies.
 

Olympeus

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I’ve got to say, I personally don’t fantasize about complete alternative progression paths to go down. TW is designing around:
A) a rather specific high level progression system (the Mercenary > Vassal > Ruler Kingdom Conquest “Victory” that you outlined) and
B) Field Battles and Sieges.
C) Managing your clan, fief’s Kingdom etc.
And I would like to just see some variations in the progression more than anything. Nothing really crazy here:

Mercenary > Vassal > Ruler > Conquer the world
Quest and trade > Support a claimant > Revolution! > see that claimant come to power
Mercenary > fight against kingdoms that are aggressors (Peacemaker) > All Kingdoms are allied
I agree. More forms of "early game" progression would be more realistically in-scope for Bannerlord, rather than completely alternate play styles that carry through to the "end game". What you outlined all seem do-able in this game and some of my ideas wouldn't realistically fit into this title just based on the scope of changes needed.

  • A Roguish Vassal.
    • Assassinate other lords
    • Extort notables that support a certain enemy clan
    • Facilitate riots in a town to lower it's prosperity
This would be awesome and really give more ways to play and reasons to perhaps stay a vassal instead of the usual path of "using" a Kingdom as a stepping stone to your own Kingdom. For those that don't necessarily want to make their own Kingdom a variety of ways to play as a vassal would be awesome.

  • A Mercenary that gained renown from fighting in the arena.
    • After a certain amount of renown, compete in Kingdom wide royal tournaments made up of lords and strong companions.
    • Recruit / train your soldiers in the arena.
    • Buy and operate a training field.
I love this idea. As @someot pointed out above, Arena Champion is probably not fleshed out enough as a primary play style but it could very easily be a form of alternate progression to Mercenary of maybe even straight to your own Kingdom. If someone invested in that progression path it would be awesome if they earned permanent benefits like recruiting unique soldiers or training fields that would last into your days as a ruler based on your experience and accomplishments in the Arena.
 

Olympeus

Regular
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Why do these have to have a victory? Once they get in game time a bit more balanced (I use Pacer mod which makes it way better) than we will start to see mulit gen plays. That and some of us don't cut the heads off ever noble we fight or steam roll the week nations for easy victory. I have yet in 20+ plays "WON THE GAME" per say.


  • Mercenary >> Mercenary Company >> Mercenary Empire
  • Trader >> Trading Company >> Trading Empire >>
  • Arena Pleb >> Gladiator >> Arena Champion >>
  • Rogue >> Spy >> Spy Master >>
  • Craftsman >> Weapons Guild >> Guild Master >>
Maybe one generation will be a Trader, but than the next turns the clan more into a Mercenary, than you might have some one go off and just be Arena/Tournament master. There really shouldn't be a end goal per say since it's exactly as you said a sandbox.

Now what I would like to see is more options or even mods to support such play. I would love to do a long running mercenary play switching nations as they need to help them fight, but two things stop me from doing so. 1) Can't have your own parties join into an army as a Mercanary. 2) Mercenary can't own Castles or Towns. Would be nice if they could at least own a Castle or bring the out post we could move around and build up from viking conquest to be used with them and Trade Companies.
You are right, these don't have to end in "victory". I probably shouldn't have used that term as the post is about what play styles you would like to see supported.

The multi-generational potential of Bannerlord could be huge. I think that underscores the need to have in-game systems that can support a long-term commitment to a certain play style. I would love to do a long run as a mercenary perhaps through my main character's lifespan but then in the next generation, his children become traders or rulers.

You mentioned the pacer mod. I'm not familiar with it but I"m assuming it either speeds up aging for existing characters or somehow slows down the pace of the game so things take longer.

What do you think the biggest issue is with pacing in Bannerlord as it exists today and what would you suggest as a solution?

I hadn't really thought about multi-generational play before you mentioned it, because the game currently seems too easy to Conquer the world in one lifetime. Also the character development for your heir is unwieldy / non-existent so that's another reason I haven't thought about handing things over to another generation.