Guidon – the randomness really adds a lot to the replayability. If I wanted to know the outcome of a match beforehand, I’d go back to memorising chess moves.
So even if you were among the venerable RNGods, you would still let me miss my 95% hit chance! Blasphemy! I shall have to save my sacrificial Egon the Beggar for a more useful deity than thou art ;)
Of course, I agree about the randomness and replayability. I was merely pointing out that the randomness causes us players to have very different experiences in the game, and these different experiences shape the different opinions we bring to these boards to some extent, in addition to our personal predelictions.
Having said that, having played Pillars of Eternity (PoE) and having seen how the disengagement rules play in effect, the main difference between their approach and BB is that a “disengage” in PoE has huge bonus To-Hit and Damage but can only happen once per AI/player (usually one is deadly enough though), whereas here in BB it’s not a deadly strike necessarily but the unit gets pinned if hit, which makes it deadly in combination and tactically. In BB, disengagement attacks are practically negligible with high melee defense, from what I have experienced (e.g. I dance around enemy formations with a high-mdef swordmaster); likewise, in PoE with high enough melee defense or damage reduction, disengagement attacks are also negligible. Also, having said that, I also recommend PoE as a pretty decent game to satisfy the RP Baldur’s Gate gameplay itch…
inclined to sacrifice troops for tactical purposes
I think this is the key difference: perspective/attitude. I would definitely do this kind of thing in an RTS, like let’s say the Total War series; sacrifice a bunch of peasants so my ranged troops or cavalry can disengage more safely… The thing with BB is that it’s a bit of a hybrid, so depending on the player’s attitude (play it like an RPG or play it like an RTS), it really changes how a player might want the game mechanics to work for gameplay enjoyment. And one man’s garbage may be another’s treasure in that sense, so we can’t please everyone.
I just vote for whatever solution does not make the map mop-up worse, so I may even advocate tougher disengagement mechanics, otherwise fine with the way it is now, but always open to listen to innovative ideas on the issue.
Also, we talk about how players respond to fleeing BBs to save them, but we never see the AI do this (not that orcs or undead would be smart enough to lore-wise), where the AI tries to save their companions to gain/restore/maintain their upperhand in battle, or in general respond intelligently to a demoralizing battle (good/realistic design or deficient AI?). So there is something to be said when the AI is not symmetrically enabled or competent to deal with the morale/retreat mechanic the way a player would with all the tools available to the player, which is probably at the core of this discussion (the current morale/retreat mechanics can be exploited by the player in a way the AI does not)