SP Viking Conquest Balance Mod 13

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Hi Joaquin! Thanks for the detailed feedback, here are my thoughts in response:

Joaquin823 said:
Why not just add a new type of troop to the roster?

Saved game compatibility.

Aside from that, I prefer huscarls granting the leadership bonus for norse (fits their historical role) and it also helps give the pagan player a slightly higher proportion of combat troops (fits balance given the many recruiting and other disadvantages pagan players face)

Joaquin823 said:
I mean, the best archer in your army should stay an archer right? It doesn't translate that he should start joining you in your shield-wall.

No, not in this time period. These aren't professional archers of later eras--they are peasants who picked up their hunting bows as the weapon they could bring to battle, as others picked up what they had available. And just as the freeholders who picked up a spear has hope of a greater role as he gathers equipment from loot and pay, they do as well.

This is especially true for the Norse, where the bow was used widely by many warriors, likely without much actual distinction or idea of an "archer" as a seperate role: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/viking_bow.htm

Joaquin823 said:
I think the same would apply for horsemen. I don't see how being fast and nimble on the battlefield translates to fighting well in tight formations.

One significant distinction between troops is equipment. The loot share of units is, in a roleplaying sense, going somewhere, and in game mechanics that is mediated by XP gain. A major distinction between units is just that, who can afford the better cloth armor, then the better mail, who can afford the better weapons. Your soldier is busily getting whatever he can to increase his surviability and battlefield role.

The second distinction is:

Joaquin823 said:
I believe that people in those days had certain proficiencies that couldn't be translated into other areas.

Weapon Proficiencies and general combat skills (powerstrike, ironflesh). The added upgrades all carefully adhere to the rule of having similar gains in those two areas as the vanilla upgrades, ie the skills of upgraded from and to units do match closely.


Let's take a step back and deal with the general question--is it odd to see your troop that had a horse upgrade and no longer have one? No, this is not strange at all given this time period, because in the background, your highest level units very likely are riding around on horses as well, at all times except during combat.

In fact, even all those high level Norse units, despite lacking any cavalry, also likely have horses. The first thing the Great Heathen Army did on landing is acquire horses from East Anglia, and that was standard practice for invading Norse armies, raid or threaten to get horses as soon as they step off the boats: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Heathen_Army . Warriors widely rode horses in this time period, they just preferred to fight dismounted.

So what is happening when a light cavalry soldier upgrades? Well, he acquired mail armor during one of those post battle loots, or bought it with spoils from loot and the pay you give him, and happily ascended to a more prestigious role, fighting as warriors do at this time, riding his horse to battle and then dismounting to join the shieldwall. This was almost certainly a more prestigious role for him, with greater opportunities, than continuing to serve as a scout and such in the light cavalry role.

Happy to continue discussing this if you have any followup points, it is a fun topic. :smile:
 
Hey Tingyun,

I appreciate your efforts with this mod and with the Q&A here and on the subreddit. Great job!

The "no dead ends" approach with troop trees gives the mod a unique flavor and does make sense from a realistic standpoint. Especially in regards to the Norse. Having read your replies in this topic, all of them agree with my own knowledge on the subject along with cursory fact-checking. Makes for a better story and reflects how we as players often behave, too. Just starting out? Crap armor? Better stay at a distance and plink with arrows/stones. Loot heavy armor? Refine your weapons? Get in there and make a difference!

I'm unconcerned about the cavalry changes. Do what you feel is best--it won't impact my gameplay. I have longboats for transport and a shieldwall for fighting, why would I ride a horse into combat?

Having started a fresh playthrough last night, I'm enjoying the village name changes. Feels better; good aesthetic. I vote for including them as standard.

About Dane Axe Warriors, are they too slow? They don't have the reach of spearmen nor the speed of berserkers, so while I want to use them as shock troops instead they're mostly target practice. Especially against the Picts and with the recent adjustment to piercing damage. Maybe "downgrading" their armor to medium would give them a place?
 
Marchio said:
The "no dead ends" approach with troop trees gives the mod a unique flavor and does make sense from a realistic standpoint...Makes for a better story and reflects how we as players often behave, too.

Interesting point! And agreed that it is part of the unique charm of this time period.

But if Joaquin replies that he still isn't convinced, I'll probably just make him an alternate add-on file that removes the upgrade options. I wanted to try to see if I could convince people first, but I don't want to make anyone play with something they dislike.

Marchio said:
Having started a fresh playthrough last night

So the fact that I uploaded 8.0 just now will give you quite the dilemma. I'd normally never abandon a playthrough to get extra changes, but one day old might be worth exporting/importing if your character hasn't done much yet (take a look at the changelog coming shortly to decide, the all lord stats varied, lords ride horses instead of ponies, lords use swords instead of langseaxes, fief assignments to strengthen laithland, most troop changes, AI courtship changes, companion changes, new set personalities, and replacement of debauched with pitiless as the new dominant personality (I think pitiless fits the spirit of the times better than debauched) won't show up in current saves, the rest will. A few of those were already in the advance changes though.

Marchio said:
I'm enjoying the village name changes. Feels better; good aesthetic. I vote for including them as standard.

Glad to hear it! They are in the default versions for 8.0. There is an optional add-on to restore vanilla names for players that want to.

Marchio said:
About Dane Axe Warriors, are they too slow? They don't have the reach of spearmen nor the speed of berserkers, so while I want to use them as shock troops instead they're mostly target practice. Especially against the Picts and with the recent adjustment to piercing damage. Maybe "downgrading" their armor to medium would give them a place?

Thanks for the feedback, I can look into it further for future versions, and will consider an armor change. By the way, how were you using them? I've found they do well mixed in with shield infantry, so that the front units shields block the incoming javilins/spears, and then throwing a few strikes from the later rows to break shields or take out horses. But I haven't tried using them as a flanking force yet or a role where speed is essential, nor have I experimented much, so any and all feedback is welcome. BTW, 8.0 adds some dane axes as an option to bodyguards (and gives them matching 2 handed WP), and my tests seems to indicate they handled it well (pulling out their shields and swords when facing ranged fire, and then switching to dane axe when close, it might be an option to give the Axe Warriors a shield and seax, see if their AI handles it well and just holds the shield when under fire. Though that would also hit them with the skill penalties from carrying a shield, which maybe isn't worth it.
 
Tingyun said:
So the fact that I uploaded 8.0 just now will give you quite the dilemma...

Not much of a dilemma, I've already restarted. Your fast release schedule is conditioning me to speedrun VC's storyline mode.

Tingyun said:
By the way, how were you using them? I've found they do well mixed in with shield infantry, so that the front units shields block the incoming javilins/spears, and then throwing a few strikes from the later rows to break shields or take out horses...

I employ Norse and Frisian troops exclusively (generally just Norse after the early game). Full realism settings, damage, Hardcore AI, fastest speed, etc. Shield infantry (or just spearmen) in front, spearmen behind mixed into a single unit (since VC always places them in a set order on the battlefield this is easy to arrange). Same concept as yours, though I find spears superior to two-handers--they go over and around allies' shields. Essentially going for maximum stabs per minute.

Once the enemy is sufficiently engaged, I drop back a bit, grab berserkers, skirmishers, select companions, etc. and flank, generally from the right (to avoid enemy shields incidentally blocking projectiles). The Dane Axe is superior for this, though the warriors are a bit too slow. Looking at it from your perspective, your usage makes perfect sense and does inspire the terror of the northmen famous in this time period. Make a shieldwall? The vikings will simply smash through it. In that regard, maybe they don't require any changes. On the other hand, the Norse faction is limited in flanking potential, given all the T4s and 5s wear heavy armor and they (rightly) lack cavalry. Unless we include berserkers, though those are akin to uniquely acquired mercenaries. Might as well include Frank Horsemen in the discussion at that point.

Seems like it's one or the other. Reduce armor to make them flankers (whether they even have high enough agility/athletics to make this viable is debatable), or, as you pointed out, give them a shield/seax so they have a place in the shieldwall. VC's combat AI is superior to vanilla WB and most mods, so it doesn't surprise me that the warriors and bodyguards handle weapon swapping well. IIRC Brytenwalda's troops did it well too, though it's been years.

From a balance standpoint vs. the AI, giving them the shield/seax is probably better. The AI can't flank (except by accident), so specifically building a unit for Norse players to have an intricate usage advantage is likely going against the theme of your mod. It could also have the benefit of making this expensive and time-consuming-to-train T4 unit viable in naval combat and for sieges. By giving Huscarls the chance of a Dane Axe, you keep with the theme of these being the same individual soldiers, just with more time, experience and loot.
 
Marchio said:
Your fast release schedule

That speed ends with 8.0. Unless someone discovers a bug needing a patch, the next release won't come until I can complete a full VC playthrough and reflect on it (so, many months from now). Too busy modding to play Viking Conquest, now it's time for me to enjoy what I made for a bit. :smile:

Marchio said:
Unless we include berserkers, though those are akin to uniquely acquired mercenaries.

Balance Mod makes Berserker recruiting more effective (better chance of getting more per recruiting action), but requires much higher renown to do (1000). The Mod also disables the chance of berserkers turning on your own men. Berserkers should be a little more viable for a late-game player now.


Marchio said:
By giving Huscarls the chance of a Dane Axe, you keep with the theme of these being the same individual soldiers, just with more time, experience and loot.

Yep! That's what I was going for--swords are rare and expensive in this age, so the primary thing is the dane axe warior eventually being able to acquire one of the caliber the huscarls use (ulfberts and such). On acquiring, most switch to the more prestigious weapon, but some decide to continue using the axe as well.

Marchio said:
giving them the shield/seax is probably better.

I just uploaded an optional add-on to give them shields/seaxes to nexus. Can you test it and let me know how they perform?

 
8.0 alternate full-install versions available to:

1) Restore vanilla VC 2x as fast as realistic travel speeds

2) Slow down renown gain to lengthen the early and middle game

8.0 optional add-ons available to:

1) Restore vanilla VC upgrade trees (mostly) (in case I didn't convince Joaquin above :wink: )

2) Restore vanilla VC village names (If you don't like Philippe at Bay's mod)

3) Speed up timescale on world map (sort of like an automatic quick time)

4) Make 8.0 compatible with ha3481's excellent Dark Age Graphic Modpack Lite version

5) Compatible Module files for if you wish to use Kalarhan's amazing VC Tweaks Tool to do some modding yourself
 
Tingyun said:
That speed ends with 8.0. Unless someone discovers a bug needing a patch, the next release won't come until I can complete a full VC playthrough...

Sounds like a plan.

Tingyun said:
I just uploaded an optional add-on to give them shields/seaxes to nexus. Can you test it and let me know how they perform?

Have done. Works well enough when they have the right equipment. Both AI and my own troops kept the shields up when approaching skirmishers/archers and on the front line. When the lines get muddled, about half switch to the two-handers and start going to town while the others stay defensive behind their "new" shields.

In a siege, however, they spawned without shields. And now in the troop tree the example soldier doesn't have a Danish Axe assigned, just the seax and shield. Might want to look at their percentage chances as I'm sure that's unintended. Edit: Tested a few more battles. Confirmed they don't always spawn with the Axe.
 
Thanks for testing--I'm removing that optional add-on. I was lukewarm about offering it even as an option--shields depress skills pretty substantially, and it interjects the potential for all kinds of weird AI behavior. Besides, lacking shields does introduce a bit of tactical distinctiveness.

There are already 7 different install options to select from anyway, that is probably beginning to border on overwhelming anyway. :wink:

Really appreciate your testing help!

Even though I won't be modding for a few months, I will occasionally check in and maintain a planning list of ideas, so please do leave any feedback you have as you conduct your playthrough!
 
8.0 released! (moving this post so it appears on the new page for those swinging by)

Final Changelog:

Incorporated Philippe at Bay's Dark Age Village Name Mod. If you prefer original village names, optional download available.

Expect to see large differences in AI speed on water between Norse and non-norse lords, as navigation skill differences are now large. Laithland, Frisian, and Northymbrian lords now as good as their counterparts in denmark and Norway.

Laithland now has a better chance of holding on to its territory, with better personalities for its lords (heavy martial presence, given they picked up and went over there). More importantly lords have set fiefs carefully chosen for less travel time to recruit, more time to follow marshall (their journeys did not patrol their own kingdom, so they were dead time). Heavy presence around dubh lin to protect it. Still in a bad situation with their far flung empire, but somewhat better.

Renamed Hubbi Ragnarson to the more common Ubba Ragnarson spelling. And Ubba is even more fearsome--fighting Ubba is the greatest 1v1 offered. Heed Ravn's warning.

Low-tier enemies will be somewhat less likely to reenact Thermopylae, as routing is now slightly more likely: applied former anti human side penalties to all, disabled 1% coward chance, increased threshold for cancelling retreat, removed morale bonus for defenders, decreased base courage, increased rate of increase of courage with level

Diplomacy code for slowing down injured horses added, balancing the strength of solo player cavalry.  See this post and the follow-up questions for a full discussion: https://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,373658.msg8992393.html#msg8992393

AI Lords now only court within their own faction (no more Briton lords in long distance relationships with Danish girls)

Lots of lord stat and skill adjustments, as well as WP. Now most every lord is a little bit different. Less distinction between kings and lords in ability, but much more distinction between lords, often based on demonstrated abilities in history (Harald Tangle/Fairhair, for example, is tougher due to his childhood, and a brilliant leader).

Ketill promoted to Jarl

special tournament fighters strengthened

dwyei companion skills reworked to fit tracker background

Renamed one of the two Bacseg named lords

Reworked arena weapons, including adding 1 1/2 handed axes, and no more staffs with shields

Added some fief assignments to keep fathers above sons in some instances in the hierarchy of castle to village

Added Ivarsson's in laithland's father relationship to Ivar the Boneless in northymbria (had slipped through when 6.0 added relationships)

changed some set personalities

Some minor adjustments to troop equipment and stats. Norse bodyguards now have a small chance of getting the 2handed dane axe (along with their shields, they seem to switch weapons intelligently enough)

A few more personalities set

dane axe changed to 18 str requirement

Reworked air friction ratings:
Vanilla VC: arrows .006, bullets .002
Balance Mod: arrows .005, bullets .004

slight tweaks to difficulty levels

From diplomacy, the following taken
- fixed a warband bug in gold rewards for leveling up troops quest
- lowered cooldown for quest to capture lord
- added check to ensure lords switching factions don't get stuck inactive
- Horse slows with damage (discussed above)

Changed the cutoff for being allowed to buy peace from -10 to -50, so you can now buy peace even if you have committed several offenses against the nation. However, it is VERY expensive to buy peace at the newly enabled lower relations (we can make it cost less later if needed, at any rate, this should only increase options for the player).

Made wealth loss to lord owning a raided village more severe:
Vanilla VC: 20% of lost wealth
Warband: 100% of lost wealth
Balance Mod: 50% of lost wealth

Otherwise raiding was often being a net positive to total wealth (the raiding lord gets 1000, the raided lord only loses 200...) I agree it shouldn't be 100%, after all the village does lose prosperity to reflect things taken from the villagers, but 20% was too low.

Bebenburgh's christian ruler's wife and daughter are made christian (vanilla VC had them as pagan)

Norway's fiefs assigned to better reflect reality of it not being a unified kingdom at this point (so lords don't share fiefs across regions)

More AI lords now carry swords instead of langseaxes. Their soldiers could afford swords, so why can't they as well.

Saxon, Angle, and Briton horsemen guranteed helmets

Companions WP modified according to starting level and skills. Now warriors with 9 powerstrike won't have 100 WP (let me know if I missed someone). For simplicity I used a standard set of possible WPs, one for skirmishers, one for warriors, one for untrained (left those alone, like brunhild, asbjorn, beda, ones like that), then modified up a bit depending on things like powerstrike and level.

removed more hats from ladies

Briton bodyguards are increased in strength. The rest of the Briton tree is mostly subpar (though somewhat buffed in prior versions of Balance Mod), but if they promote all the way to top swordsmen at least there is the possibility of some top elites for Briton King Arthur revival playthrough.

Saddless horse versions now take a -5 hit to manuverability (saddless ponies -4). Slight speed increases (+1) and riding skill requirement (+2 horses +1 ponies). Realism, and helping to bring the overpowered Pict troop tree down a tiny bit. Pict noble heavy cavalry unaffected, they use saddles. Saddless horses now slightly cheaper, reflecting this as well as a presumed greater supply vs demand in Pict lands where sold

Horse and pony prices adjusted to be sensible given troop upgrade alternatives and economics of game. Previously they were far inflated, perhaps intended as a money sink or to encourage the player not to use them, but we are balancing them in better ways and a couple thousand extra is not going to delay a player (one more tournament victory, part of one more trading run). Besides, the economy as a whole is more sensible and balanced now, and money sinks like this aren't needed anymore (especially when it doesn't sink much money anyway, and breaks immersion when villages have horses in their scenes and basic units upgrade to using them).

AI lords now use horses rather than ponies (as they are available for sale in every town anyway, the player always towering over them isn't as much fun, and many of them commanded troops riding on horses). Some other minor changes to AI lord stats and equipment.

Debauched switched for Pitiless/selfrightous as the dominant personality trait in VC (seems to reflect the times better, self-serving independent ruthless lords, isntead of sadistic ones)

Idle soldiers no longer get loot shares from raiding bandit lairs--it is entirely split between player and the 6 soldiers accompanying him.

Additional credits for 8.0 release (see earlier post several posts above for first part of credits):

Zakarum for noting there were two lords named Bacseg and suggesting a name change

Diplomacy mod and Taleworlds users Waihti and zParsifal, for several incorporated changes, including horse slowing with damage: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,116424.0.html
 
Hi Plasquar,

Thanks! If you later do a Let’s Play with it, post here, and then we can also share the link to it over at the ModDB Balance Mod page and other sites.
 
Hello Tingyun, I decided to do a LP of Viking Conquest + your Balance Mod + ha3481's Dark Age lite mod. The first episode should be available on Youtube tomorrow.
smilie.php
 
Hi Tingyun

Just wondering, would using the tweaks tool affect the edits you made in the main module? E.g., if I changed TWEAK_LOW_LEVEL_UNITS_ARE_COWARDS = 0 to 1, would it affect the edit you made 8.0 about low-level units routing? Or alternatively, if I left TWEAK_LOW_LEVEL_UNITS_ARE_COWARDS = 0 as it is, but used tweak tools for other tweaks, would it still override the 8.0 changes on low-level units routing?

Also, is it correct that I should not copy module.ini into app folder, but should only merge it when the generated module.ini?

Thanks!
 
Interesting first episode, Plasquar, VC looks even cool with these two submods, but I am too busy with Warband, I will give a try soon
 
jelf said:
Just wondering, would using the tweaks tool affect the edits you made in the main module?

The only one I can think of, is if you use the tweak for village defenders, then you will be opting into that system for generating them rather than Balance Mod’s system. The main difference there would be prosperity influences defenders heavily in Balance Mod’s version, and some differences in unit types, but the tweaks version is a great system as well.

Also of course you’d have to manually enable any tweaks you want, even ones that Balance Mod includes in the default version (see the 2.0 changelog for the list)

jelf said:
E.g., if I changed TWEAK_LOW_LEVEL_UNITS_ARE_COWARDS = 0 to 1, would it affect the edit you made 8.0 about low-level units routing? Or alternatively, if I left TWEAK_LOW_LEVEL_UNITS_ARE_COWARDS = 0 as it is, but used tweak tools for other tweaks, would it still override the 8.0 changes on low-level units routing?

It would not override Balance Mod’s changes and would work fine (the “coward” chance I removed is a seperate thing from the tweak, just shares the same name). However, it would add to Balance Mod’s changes, which already include making level more influential in courage and weakening overall courage (though both done in different ways than the tweak).

So together that might make low level units too cowardly, but it might also work great, you’ll have to test.

jelf said:
Also, is it correct that I should not copy module.ini into app folder, but should only merge it when the generated module.ini?

Hmm, I am not aware of any tweaks affecting module.ini, so you would probably be fine just copying over the included one. But to be safe, always winmerge compare just to make sure, for all text files, is the safe strategy, because there could easily be some that do affect module.ini that I just am not aware of.

Mission_templates.txt is the included text file I’d be more worried about, as that text file is very sensitive to changes, one shift somewhere and the whole thing sometimes changes. Since the only two text tweaks in that one are doccinga keep your horse and town/castle sneaking in keep equipment I’d probably either Ctrl f for them and just merge over those two changes or forget about them entirely.

I think the morale tweak will change missions templates, so that will be one to watch. You could easily just forget about Balance Mod’s two text tweaks for it, 99% of the Balance Mod changes to the file are done properly in the module file, I just hadn’t got around to transferring those two old tweaks over, as they still date back to the stuff I did before I started properly editing the module system (way back in the 1.0 version). Just too little time and too many new things to do.

Probably your tweaks won’t affect module.ini, troops.txt, itemkinds1.txt, or parties.txt, so you’ll probably be safe to copy them over, but always best to winmerge to do a quick check first.
 
Plasquar: Just remembered something, since you are new to Viking Conquest, do not believe the Jarl when he says you only need 15 men. You probably need more than 30, and some of them have to be pretty good quality too (tier 3 companions or spearmen or powerful mercs for some of them), for a mission coming up.

Consider booking passage on a ship and heading to Ribe or Dunwic to gain some more men and XP. If you do that, buy wine, jewelery, and salt in Dorested to trade, you will make a profit especially on wine.

And near Dunwic, there is a unique place called Boar Grove. Head there after you arrive, it will help you. Play like you are in sandbox for a bit, build up, and go back when you have a decent army.

Good tavern mercs to hire: Svear Warriors, Frankish Cavalry, Old Captains. Tier 3 direct recruits available from towns if you have a high relationship with them (random chance). Can also build a refuge somewhere and upgrade it with lumber and tools, and then hire a trainer, who will train you up 8 or so tier 3 soldiers a week, if you give him some tier 2 troops. For the most part, most of your elites (tier 4 and 5) will come from prisoner hires and rescues, and will be a small proportion of your army, tier 3 is probably going to be the core of your force for a long time.

I haven't modded storyline missions at all, and sometimes they are very difficult, combined with permadeath if you lose, so side-quest and buildup!
 
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