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Which Faction Needs the Most Love and Work?

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Aurex

Veteran
WB
A lot of good reads on the topic, thank you. I'll add my two dinars.

To answer the OP's question, I would definitely say Vlandia. The reason? While it's supposedly been 210 years from the times of Bannerlord in Warband, the Swadians are basically the *same* faction. When I heard talk about Vlandia I would have expected a proto-medieval realm, not a fully realized kingdom with knights and sergeants, crossbows (that shouldn't have existed if this is supposed to be 210 years before Warband, and in a setting that's based on our own history) and cities and castles which designs are virtually identical to those seen in Swadia two centuries later.

There are other issues I can see (all IMO) with the other factions.

Sturgia looks a lot like the Kingdom of Nords and is losing a lot of its slavic flavor with each and every update while also being underwhelming on the field *and* on the walls.

The Empire(s) does a good job in looking a lot like what you would have imagined a pseudo post-separation Eastern Roman Empire to look like. Still, while I don't think there should be that much difference between the sub-realms within the Empire, there should be at least some flavor to it: different mechanics, perhaps? Different approaches to military campaigning, troop composition, kind of missions provided to the player maybe? I also cannot imagine them using crossbows this early, they'd probably be using javelins and skirmish more instead, or rely on large amount of light cavalry.

Aserai. I haven't fought them (or alongside them) long enough to have a strong opinion one way or the other... having met them on the field so rarely and in such small numbers I genuinely have nothing to say about their faction, so I will refrain from commenting 😅

The Khuzait are a little bit extreme considering the time period we're supposedly in (I realize this is not *our* world, but it should follow its history quite closely) when it comes to armor and troop composition. Either give them a throng of horse archers, skirmisher and riders with light armor and nimble yet fragile mounts while cracking down a little on just how well armored their horse archers can be or make it more difficult for the AI to recruit vast number of high-end riders. The mongols weren't mostly armored horse archers even at the height of their empire, their strength was in the mobility and the numbers.

I've seen some great posts about Battania, too... and they said more than I probably could. Still, I think that (especially when it comes to game balance) Battania has a troop roster that's a little... weird. Alright, so... only nobles use bows on the open field. But... why? If they're supposed to be a skirmishing faction with a lot of hit and run, then let them have better AI and better thrown weapons (which have been nerfed recently, too...) instead of making them a strange amalgamation of butt-naked pict warriors and welsh longbowmen with a peculiar taste in clothing.
Considering in such a difficult time for Calradia food would be scarce and a LOT of people would be poaching, it'd make a lot of sense that a lot of battanian peasants would know how to hunt, on top of owning a bow to hunt with, of course.

Speaking more broadly, I think every faction in general should be more lightly armed and armored (especially armored.) Perhaps adding some diversity to the leather (cuir bouilli for example) armor selection and some heavier clothing would help alleviate that issue, alongside weaponry that would better suit the time period the game is built on. More diversity in the peasants' clothing would be nice, they all look a little too prim and proper when they're just mere recruits from a pre-medieval society. Also, the game should have wildly different mechanics for each factions when it comes to battling enemies, managing logistics and handling intrigue and politics. Khuzait should be able to automatically "siphon" some food from the lands they're trying to take, having so much fast cavalry and generally employ horde tactics when in superior number while harassing and skirmishing before retreating when the battle is hopelessly against them. The Empire should have lower morale when fighting another Empire-based faction, they could also have unique formation (that really goes for all factions though) and a deeper intrigue system.

TL;DR=More diversity for light armor, less heavy armor, bows for Battania, more fragile HA, less advanced weaponry, more interesting game mechanics which could give the factions more flavor. Also, sorry about the post being messy, it's really late here.
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
Speaking more broadly, I think every faction in general should be more lightly armed and armored (especially armored.)
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Stonestool

Recruit
Battania needs an archery tree, especially since they are woodlands people draped in animal furs.

I will say though that I personally appreciate the apparent lack of balance because it adds a certain depth.

  • The Empire's well-rounded blend of units with a focus on front line tank infantry offers new players a way to "break into" the game
  • The Khuts offer Dothraki open field superiority to freely run around and learn the different factions/map
  • The Vlandia make it easy to enlist the best crossbows to garrison your first cities
  • The Aserai are also decently well-rounded in units, conveniently offering two map choke-points that connect both sides of the world for players interested in trade exploration
  • With Sterg and Battania being the obvious (more difficult) hard mode factions due to map proximity, snow/forest terrain, and unit selection
But... again... Battania's furry wood people NEED archers
 
Battania needs an archery tree, especially since they are woodlands people draped in animal furs.

I will say though that I personally appreciate the apparent lack of balance because it adds a certain depth.

  • The Empire's well-rounded blend of units with a focus on front line tank infantry offers new players a way to "break into" the game
  • The Khuts offer Dothraki open field superiority to freely run around and learn the different factions/map
  • The Vlandia make it easy to enlist the best crossbows to garrison your first cities
  • The Aserai are also decently well-rounded in units, conveniently offering two map choke-points that connect both sides of the world for players interested in trade exploration
  • With Sterg and Battania being the obvious (more difficult) hard mode factions due to map proximity, snow/forest terrain, and unit selection
But... again... Battania's furry wood people NEED archers
+1 Battania needs a lot more archers and less cavalry. Not only for gameplay reasons but in the lore they are considered the bait and switch trappers of the forests who ambush with volleys then overwhelm with shock infantry -- not a giant blob of infantry with targes and skirmishing cavalry.

On an unrelated note. Vlandia sharpshooters are overpowered. I can train raw recruits into dozens of sharpshooters in a shockingly low amount of time. Perhaps sharpshooters should be the noble troop? Probably not -- but they seem to be getting 60-80% of my kills at any rate. I know Vlandia is supposed to be pre-Swadia before the Rhoduks but they feel a lot more of the other way around.

In virtually any situation I can form a defensive line (equal split of crossbows to pikemen/voguers -- with crossbows upfront by about 2 meters -- all loose formation) wait for the enemy to get within 20-30 meters or so, call infantry charge -- cavalry charge from behind. Nothing has been able to withstand this technique. But, it's probably just because AI has no idea how to deal with very conservative playstyles accompanied by intense ranged pressure -- or adapt their troop composition to counter this type of playstyle after repeat encounters.

I am sure many would disagree with me but I would like to see Vlandia ranged units nerfed into a mediocre style longbowmen and buff their infantry (non-spearman branch of infantry specifically) and become much more of a direct fighter as opposed to a volley focused playstyle.
 
On an unrelated note. Vlandia sharpshooters are overpowered. I can train raw recruits into dozens of sharpshooters in a shockingly low amount of time. Perhaps sharpshooters should be the noble troop? Probably not -- but they seem to be getting 60-80% of my kills at any rate. I know Vlandia is supposed to be pre-Swadia before the Rhoduks but they feel a lot more of the other way around.

In virtually any situation I can form a defensive line (equal split of crossbows to pikemen/voguers -- with crossbows upfront by about 2 meters -- all loose formation) wait for the enemy to get within 20-30 meters or so, call infantry charge -- cavalry charge from behind. Nothing has been able to withstand this technique. But, it's probably just because AI has no idea how to deal with very conservative playstyles accompanied by intense ranged pressure -- or adapt their troop composition to counter this type of playstyle after repeat encounters.

I am sure many would disagree with me but I would like to see Vlandia ranged units nerfed into a mediocre style longbowmen and buff their infantry (non-spearman branch of infantry specifically) and become much more of a direct fighter as opposed to a volley focused playstyle.
Vlandia is meant to be the ancestor of the Swadians and Rhodoks, so turning them into longbowmen makes no sense at all. Swadians themselves used crossbows, so I don't see where longbowmen would be coming from at all.

I would rather just change the way crossbowmen worked. Give them a considerably longer reload speed. And while we're at it, general buffs to all armour in game to nerf ranged combat. I feel like the issue is a general ranged issue, not just sharpshooter specific.

I think they're just fine as a cavalry/ranged faction that uses infantry as an expendable meatshield.
 
Vlandia is meant to be the ancestor of the Swadians and Rhodoks, so turning them into longbowmen makes no sense at all. Swadians themselves used crossbows, so I don't see where longbowmen would be coming from at all.
I know what you mean but it doesn't matter what makes sense if the gameplay is contrived. The point I am making is one from a gameplay/balance point of view -- if we have to nerf crossbows into longbows why not just give them bloody longbows?
I would rather just change the way crossbowmen worked. Give them a considerably longer reload speed. And while we're at it, general buffs to all armour in game to nerf ranged combat. I feel like the issue is a general ranged issue, not just sharpshooter specific.
The range and firepower are the issues of crossbows. The core issue of sharpshooters is that they are peasant troops that upgrade very fast because of the range and acceptable damage of even lighter crossbows (ie they usually are safe from ranged pressure because they can usually out-gun anything, point it in the general direction of the enemy, release, and boom easy upgrade!). If you use a similar formation or tact I mention in my first post you can amass them far too easily. When I say they are op I am not only referring to their inherent power. A group of fian champs will eviscerate an even-numbered group of sharpshooters. But -- I can consistently get 5 sharpshooters much more consistently than 1 fian champ -- and 5 sharpshooters will defeat 1 fian champ 10 times out of 10.


I think they're just fine as a cavalry/ranged faction that uses infantry as an expendable meatshield.
Sure. However -- my point is this is far too deterministic for a sandbox game that is meant to be built around dynamic battles and logistics.

Vlandia should be able to do other strategies besides make defensive lines (ie the game is better if factions aren't limited to one playstyle or the gameplay is bottled down to the same fights continuously) If the player or ai of a specific faction wants to take a different approach they should not be hamstrung because their troops are great at one tact and terrible at others. I am not staying make every faction the same. But I am saying there should be more wiggle room for varied playstyles within the factions. Furthermore, there are mountains of room to nerf Vlandian ranged units to make Vlandian infantry less squeamish. This in theory this would allow different compositions of troops biased on lord's and ladies' traits or goals for example.
 
I know what you mean but it doesn't matter what makes sense if the gameplay is contrived. The point I am making is one from a gameplay/balance point of view -- if we have to nerf crossbows into longbows why not just give them bloody longbows?

The range and firepower are the issues of crossbows. The core issue of sharpshooters is that they are peasant troops that upgrade very fast because of the range and acceptable damage of even lighter crossbows (ie they usually are safe from ranged pressure because they can usually out-gun anything, point it in the general direction of the enemy, release, and boom easy upgrade!). If you use a similar formation or tact I mention in my first post you can amass them far too easily. When I say they are op I am not only referring to their inherent power. A group of fian champs will eviscerate an even-numbered group of sharpshooters. But -- I can consistently get 5 sharpshooters much more consistently than 1 fian champ -- and 5 sharpshooters will defeat 1 fian champ 10 times out of 10.



Sure. However -- my point is this is far too deterministic for a sandbox game that is meant to be built around dynamic battles and logistics.

Vlandia should be able to do other strategies besides make defensive lines (ie the game is better if factions aren't limited to one playstyle or the gameplay is bottled down to the same fights continuously) If the player or ai of a specific faction wants to take a different approach they should not be hamstrung because their troops are great at one tact and terrible at others. I am not staying make every faction the same. But I am saying there should be more wiggle room for varied playstyles within the factions. Furthermore, there are mountains of room to nerf Vlandian ranged units to make Vlandian infantry less squeamish. This in theory this would allow different compositions of troops biased on lord's and ladies' traits or goals for example.
Because variety is more interesting, and I think absolute balance is not all that interesting. If almost everyone has archers, we'd have a lack of interesting options and tactical dynamics at play.

I don't see why lighter crossbows can't be nerfed either. Hell, just making weaker crossbowmen take significantly longer to reload. I don't think turning them into archers will help at all. They will still pump out damage safely from a distance, upgrade easily and amass very quickly.

I mean, if I had to do things a certain way, refer to my mod. Apart from the mounted crossbowmen (which I now regret), my Vlandians are still very much your strong, but inflexible troops that have to work together for combined arms tactics. What kind of buffs would you even give their infantry? I think giving them better armour is as far as I'd go.

Even then, turning Vlandia into some sort of lame all rounder faction without any special focuses is beyond boring. The Empire already has that covered, no need to do the same with Vlandia.
 

Neofd10

Recruit
A lot of good reads on the topic, thank you. I'll add my two dinars.

To answer the OP's question, I would definitely say Vlandia. The reason? While it's supposedly been 210 years from the times of Bannerlord in Warband, the Swadians are basically the *same* faction. When I heard talk about Vlandia I would have expected a proto-medieval realm, not a fully realized kingdom with knights and sergeants, crossbows (that shouldn't have existed if this is supposed to be 210 years before Warband, and in a setting that's based on our own history) and cities and castles which designs are virtually identical to those seen in Swadia two centuries later.

There are other issues I can see (all IMO) with the other factions.

Sturgia looks a lot like the Kingdom of Nords and is losing a lot of its slavic flavor with each and every update while also being underwhelming on the field *and* on the walls.

The Empire(s) does a good job in looking a lot like what you would have imagined a pseudo post-separation Eastern Roman Empire to look like. Still, while I don't think there should be that much difference between the sub-realms within the Empire, there should be at least some flavor to it: different mechanics, perhaps? Different approaches to military campaigning, troop composition, kind of missions provided to the player maybe? I also cannot imagine them using crossbows this early, they'd probably be using javelins and skirmish more instead, or rely on large amount of light cavalry.

Aserai. I haven't fought them (or alongside them) long enough to have a strong opinion one way or the other... having met them on the field so rarely and in such small numbers I genuinely have nothing to say about their faction, so I will refrain from commenting 😅

The Khuzait are a little bit extreme considering the time period we're supposedly in (I realize this is not *our* world, but it should follow its history quite closely) when it comes to armor and troop composition. Either give them a throng of horse archers, skirmisher and riders with light armor and nimble yet fragile mounts while cracking down a little on just how well armored their horse archers can be or make it more difficult for the AI to recruit vast number of high-end riders. The mongols weren't mostly armored horse archers even at the height of their empire, their strength was in the mobility and the numbers.

I've seen some great posts about Battania, too... and they said more than I probably could. Still, I think that (especially when it comes to game balance) Battania has a troop roster that's a little... weird. Alright, so... only nobles use bows on the open field. But... why? If they're supposed to be a skirmishing faction with a lot of hit and run, then let them have better AI and better thrown weapons (which have been nerfed recently, too...) instead of making them a strange amalgamation of butt-naked pict warriors and welsh longbowmen with a peculiar taste in clothing.
Considering in such a difficult time for Calradia food would be scarce and a LOT of people would be poaching, it'd make a lot of sense that a lot of battanian peasants would know how to hunt, on top of owning a bow to hunt with, of course.

Speaking more broadly, I think every faction in general should be more lightly armed and armored (especially armored.) Perhaps adding some diversity to the leather (cuir bouilli for example) armor selection and some heavier clothing would help alleviate that issue, alongside weaponry that would better suit the time period the game is built on. More diversity in the peasants' clothing would be nice, they all look a little too prim and proper when they're just mere recruits from a pre-medieval society. Also, the game should have wildly different mechanics for each factions when it comes to battling enemies, managing logistics and handling intrigue and politics. Khuzait should be able to automatically "siphon" some food from the lands they're trying to take, having so much fast cavalry and generally employ horde tactics when in superior number while harassing and skirmishing before retreating when the battle is hopelessly against them. The Empire should have lower morale when fighting another Empire-based faction, they could also have unique formation (that really goes for all factions though) and a deeper intrigue system.

TL;DR=More diversity for light armor, less heavy armor, bows for Battania, more fragile HA, less advanced weaponry, more interesting game mechanics which could give the factions more flavor. Also, sorry about the post being messy, it's really late here.
Cool, some nice stuff here and I agree with the vast majority of what you said. Personally, I don’t see too much problem with crossbows for the factions that have them, as the Romans had crossbows during late antiquity, and the normans seam to have used them too. However I do agree that the first one or two units for vlandia could be weak archer units, though weak crossbows are fine. As for armour, I’d love to see more gambeson in game, and have the vlandians look more like the normans of the 11th and 12th centuries. I also agree with making battanian armour lighter, and of course, Battania needs commoner archers! (As well as a bit of an architectural overhaul). The empire should definetly keep their armour.
 
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Neofd10

Recruit
Battania needs an archery tree, especially since they are woodlands people draped in animal furs.

I will say though that I personally appreciate the apparent lack of balance because it adds a certain depth.

  • The Empire's well-rounded blend of units with a focus on front line tank infantry offers new players a way to "break into" the game
  • The Khuts offer Dothraki open field superiority to freely run around and learn the different factions/map
  • The Vlandia make it easy to enlist the best crossbows to garrison your first cities
  • The Aserai are also decently well-rounded in units, conveniently offering two map choke-points that connect both sides of the world for players interested in trade exploration
  • With Sterg and Battania being the obvious (more difficult) hard mode factions due to map proximity, snow/forest terrain, and unit selection
But... again... Battania's furry wood people NEED archers
YES
 

Neofd10

Recruit
Because variety is more interesting, and I think absolute balance is not all that interesting. If almost everyone has archers, we'd have a lack of interesting options and tactical dynamics at play.

I don't see why lighter crossbows can't be nerfed either. Hell, just making weaker crossbowmen take significantly longer to reload. I don't think turning them into archers will help at all. They will still pump out damage safely from a distance, upgrade easily and amass very quickly.

I mean, if I had to do things a certain way, refer to my mod. Apart from the mounted crossbowmen (which I now regret), my Vlandians are still very much your strong, but inflexible troops that have to work together for combined arms tactics. What kind of buffs would you even give their infantry? I think giving them better armour is as far as I'd go.

Even then, turning Vlandia into some sort of lame all rounder faction without any special focuses is beyond boring. The Empire already has that covered, no need to do the same with Vlandia.
I agree, as this is technically the end of the early Middle Ages, make crossbows much weaker.
 
Because variety is more interesting, and I think absolute balance is not all that interesting. If almost everyone has archers, we'd have a lack of interesting options and tactical dynamics at play.

Perhaps I could have been more clear. When I say give Vlandia longbows the value of the point I am making is crossbows are op.

I don't see why lighter crossbows can't be nerfed either. Hell, just making weaker crossbowmen take significantly longer to reload. I don't think turning them into archers will help at all. They will still pump out damage safely from a distance, upgrade easily and amass very quickly.

This we agree. However I believe the core of the issue is they easily outrange bows. If you can stand outside range of bows - volley - skirmish if need be - repeat. If the player is commanding volleys optimally they are still going have 20+ sharpshooters after 5 victories -- and 40+ after 10. (this is of course accompanied by some of leadership tree bonuses + vlandian culture passive)

I think the right direction as it stands is make upgrading them much more difficult to upgrade because of their tendency to get a lots of kills.

I mean, if I had to do things a certain way, refer to my mod. Apart from the mounted crossbowmen (which I now regret), my Vlandians are still very much your strong, but inflexible troops that have to work together for combined arms tactics. What kind of buffs would you even give their infantry? I think giving them better armour is as far as I'd go.

I would propose mostly armour tweaks too. In short, the majority of Vlandian infantry is far too squishy during their upgrade path -- and upgrading them is inconsistent. Instead of telling you exactly how I would upgrade them, I will showcase the oddities of their upgrades.

[Numbers pulled from game version 1.5.7]

Vlandian Infantry. (the troop -- not to be confused with the division as a whole) Their torso armor is only a 2+ upgrade from footman but a +8 to head. I am not entirely sure -- but I believe the core issue stands with these guys because they simply don't get enough of a torso upgrade. As a result, many die before upgrading into a swordsman.

Vlandia Swordsmen. Need shoulder armor. They get a +9 ( bump to torso armor, but only a +2 to head.

Vlandian Sergeants. If they are lucky enough to get this far they are a pretty good unit. +11 armor to head and +27 to the body (including shoulder armor). but many die on their quest to becoming a Sergeant because of this rough upgrade path.

Secondary issue: As if sergeants weren't lucky enough -- they need to get lucky again. If they spawn with a hand axe they do well. But their maces are a joke. Watch them twiddle that thing around next time you get the chance.

And -- similar inconsistencies exist in the shock set of troops. (ie pikemen getting a downgrade in torso armor from the billman)

Even then, turning Vlandia into some sort of lame all rounder faction without any special focuses is beyond boring. The Empire already has that covered, no need to do the same with Vlandia.

I am not suggesting we turn Vlandia into the Empire. I believe their special focus should be heavy lancers (that's what their lore is -- and that's what they're noble troops are). I simply would prefer to turn down the reliance on crossbows is all (as a result have a more competent infantry).
 
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