Dev Blog #81: Progress Update – Other Improvements


Dev Blog #81: Progress Update – Other Improvements

Progress is going well with redoing the perk system of Battle Brothers. While it’s not quite ready to go yet, we have improved the game in other aspects as well. That’s what we’re going to talk about this week, so let’s start!

Talent & Backgrounds

Certain backgrounds, like sellswords, could vastly exceed other backgrounds in effectiveness if you could afford them. That makes sense, of course, in a game that is about sellswords, but what if some farmhand or former militiaman were talented enough to eventually catch up or even surpass them?

All characters now have three attributes in which they’re especially talented – how talented is determined by a star rating of between one to three stars. The way that attribute increases on levelup used to work, you couldn’t predict exactly how character attributes would develop, and if your men would always manage to take away the right lessons away from what they experienced. Being talented in a particular attribute now means that this variance and randomness is lowered or even removed; characters will consistently roll higher on attributes in which they’re talented. Of course, the more talented, the more rare. Can you find that prodigy that has full stars with all their attributes?


In addition, we’ll be introducing two new backgrounds to the game with the coming update. We’ll also add a whole bunch of new events that take into account your party composition. Depending on the characters in your employ, you’ll have different options with events and may gain access to rewards that you otherwise couldn’t. For example, that historian you hired might just be able to make sense of the old map that appeared useless at first glance. We’re currently at 18 new events, but that number is likely to grow further before the update launches.


Attacks missing in combat happens all the time, but it can still feel frustrating as veteran mercenaries make themselves look incompetent by seemingly swinging at nothing but air. In reality, they’d miss because the opponent does their best to avoid getting hit, of course, as they dodge, block and parry the attacks. When it comes to shields, that’s something we’ll emphasize more from now on.

Any attack that misses because of the defense bonus granted by shields, or in other words because the opponent uses their shield to actively block the attack, now actually does hit the shield. This is shown visually, accompanied by different sound effects depending on the material the shield is made of, and actually damages the shield by one point. The durability of shields has been increased, so one point doesn’t mean that much, but it can slowly whittle down shields in prolonged engagements. To effectively get rid of shields, the best way is still to use the “Split Shield” skill of axes and some two-handed weapons, just like it used to be.


These changes should help to make combat feel more authentic, and misses less frustrating, as you’ll have a better idea of why you didn’t hit, and even if you didn’t hit, you may have still caused some damage to your opponents.

Overwhelming and Surrounding

Time to do some cleaning-up. The Overwhelming mechanic has been in the game since the very beginning – way back in the public combat demo that was released in 2014, a full year before the game became available on Steam Early Access. And yet, it’s remained one of the more nebulous things for players. It’s not that intuitive to understand, and even if you do understand how it works, it leads to awkward use of the wait-function in combat to make the best use of it.

Come next update, Overwhelming will be replaced by Surrounding. The new mechanic is quite easy to understand; every ally beyond the first that is adjacent to an enemy counts towards the Surrounded bonus, which increases the hit chance of anyone attacking that target in melee. It goes for you just as well as for your opponents, and there’ll be new perks interacting with this mechanic in interesting ways. And if you think that’s how Overwhelming already worked, that’s just one more reason for why this changed was needed.


The next update will also include a rework of the banners that you can choose from when creating your mercenary company. We did the current ones way back when we scrambled to get the game ready for Early Access, and we’ve now taken the time to create actual unique mercenary banners that are distinct from those of noble houses and much more detailed.


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About Jaysen


  • Avatar photo
    Aug 12, 2016 @ 16:03 pm

    Those new shield and Banner are so cool!

    And I love the new shield mechanics. Can’t wait for the update to Try that ! (I guess that different weapon will have different basic damage on a case of a parry?)

    Concerning the overwhelming, I find the old system already quite good. And in fact, I find it better that an attack is needed to activate the effect. Since on a line, soldier are most often opposed to more than one foe. With the new system, did that mean they all get the malus? while it was only those who were attacked once who get it before?

    And with the new system, I find that odd use of the wait system would happening more often, and in a less meaningfull way. since, you will wait that all of your unit are around someone and then only attack (so everyone get the bonus) rather than sending one charge after another, on the most optimised order (like it could be on a real fight, with the less good attacker being send to distract one opponent, while the two handed bearer wait for an opportunity to charge in at the best moment)

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    Aug 12, 2016 @ 16:09 pm

    Ah! and the new “talent” system is really cool. In fact, last time when I leveled up my guys, I was thinking that a system of this sort would be really cool.

    And then, you made it.

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    Monsieur Fourmi
    Aug 12, 2016 @ 16:38 pm

    Can’t waaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiit for the update! ><

    Especially for the even options related to background, that seems amazing and I'm totally going to hire unsual mercenaries to try this! :)

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    Aug 12, 2016 @ 17:06 pm

    talent system – good big step too make this brilliant game more brain using then random lucking. Real important move, devs. Hope it is only the first step. i am still sceptic about new perk system, but talent and new shields – miss mechanic – tnx a lot

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    Aug 12, 2016 @ 19:17 pm

    This has been bugging me since I first purchased the EA.

    Why can’t we see a potential hire’s stats before we hire him? Shouldn’t the merc make sure they are getting their gold’s worth BEFORE giving the dude upfront payment?

    Currently, I f5 before I hire anyone and if that hugely expensive ex-soldier comes with a sickness that gives him less melee skill than a tavern brawler, then I’ll just reload. There’s simply no point in hiding any potential useful/detrimental quirks/stats behind the hiring process.

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      Aug 12, 2016 @ 20:58 pm

      There’s a fair amount of discussion about this on the forums. Basically, I look at it like this: one can’t really know how good a new hire is until he gets into battle. This is a reasonable compromise. The background descriptions give a “feel” for what to expect, but, there’s always that chance of a real problem. If the guy’s a total dud, I dismiss him and go from there. Yeah, it’s expensive, but it’s why I’m the guy doing the hiring. If I’ll need to reload if the guy’s a total loss, then it mean’s I can’t afford him in the first place.

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        Aug 13, 2016 @ 5:28 am

        In that case, character trait should be visible.

        You might not know a person’s melee skill but you can certainly see if he’s half crippled, a coward or can’t breath going up the stairs.

        In fact, give stats in form of a range at the start to indicate a general idea of competency. A real merc band would at least ask a potential to swing a sword a few times. Remember that training scene in Game of Thrones when Jon sparred with the other trainee at Castle Black? 30sec and you know who’s competent with a sword.

        Gameplay wise, an experienced ex-soldier with good gear can be very very expensive – far too much at stake for RNG.

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          Aug 23, 2016 @ 2:58 am

          I personally prefer it staying the way it currently is; it feels more like a realistic experience than a math game.

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    Aug 13, 2016 @ 9:03 am

    Great update! It would be a bit more interesting if the talent was hidden until the first level up. As a matter of fact I’d like to see some of the stats made a bit more obscure/uncertain at the hiring stage until they a “battle tested” :)

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    Wouter Lievens
    Aug 14, 2016 @ 9:18 am

    Holy crap those shields and banners are gorgeous!

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    Aug 14, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

    Hey guys. I have some suggestions here. Just before I get to that I wanted to say how much of a pleasure it has been getting to play the game you are currently developing. Alot of people appreciate your work and it is completely deserved praise throughout the threads and forums. The dedication to the fans of your game-in-progress is stellar and we (myself included because you also worked with me through a game update which had lead to alot of game start crashes) thank you for it.

    So the suggestions :)

    1. This is the biggest one so I am putting it first: Noble houses feel bland. This is something you guys have told us (on your website) is to be worked on in the future. Right now every Noble house have the same speech dialogues, the same missions, and while their mottos may be different none of them actually differ from the other. Personally I seek the way of a more righteous house to follow so it is upsetting when a righteous house wants you to go murder a bunch of peasants so the town might think twice about rejecting their offers of protection. It would be totally fine if a Noble family of more wicked intent may want you to go about things like that but for an upstanding and good noble family to offer you work like this just goes against what they believe/stand for. It just does not make sense. So it would be great to see the noble families offering contracts more suitable to what their personal mottos say they
    stand for. The righteous standing up for the lesser protected independent settlements, the evil families going after them through ill gotten measures, some mottos even suggest they are treaure seekers of old and forgotten relics so stuff like that etc. Also the interactions via dialogue could be more upstanding, greedy, evil, unstable, etc according once again to how a particular family operates. Of course it is up to you guys so I just wanted to add some food for thought.

    2. I have noticied messengers can be hired at settlements and it got me to thinking if you had a messenger could you recieve contracts via carrier pigeons, or a message of help if a settlement you were very friendly to or allied with was in trouble. Could there be dubious messages that if your messenger was a lesser experienced man you could be walking into a trap if you decided to go and “help”. Could there be messengers you come across in the open world, wounded or dying and now it is charged to you to go and deliver what could potentially be a really important message or something just so so. Their could be some great rewards/consequences with the choices you make regarding these events. Maybe to do so you would have to break the current contract you have or maybe the message needs to be delivered in a certain amount of days which could sometimes be fortuitous as to where you were heading in the first place or it would be comepletely in the opposite direction of where you needed to be. It was just a thought with how towns could operate their own messengers or interact with one in your company.

    3. Lastly I have noticied ships and have wondered if you guys were going to do anything with them as they have an “Unknown garrison” on board. I was thinking perhaps pirate enemies and yes I did think about the idea of a ship sinking. If that happened maybe your brothers could wash up ashore on some beach the risk being you may lose a brother or two or even an item or a few items. The rewards could include but not limited to a treasure chest full of extra gold, items or supplies. You might even find a prisoner on board who could just be a really washed out stick thin man who is in bad health or perhaps a real score of a highly skilled sellsword, hunter, knight etc that could join your party or even a person who needs to be rescued and returned to their home like one of the caravan escort missions currently have.

    Anyways this is some of the thoughts I have had since playing the game you guys have done such a wonderful job on thus far! Of course you don’t have to take on board anything I have said, obviously I hope you may but it is your game and you guys are doing a great job so these really are just suggestions. However I do hope the Noble houses get to have their own line of contracts, dialogues and interactions unique to their personal mottos in the future!

    So yeah thoughts from a happy gamer of yours :)

    Cheers guys

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