Topic: Feedback on balancing

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  • #17878
    Avatar photoTeslarod

    Hi there, its been a while.
    By now my Steam tells me it’s been around 200 hours I’ve spend playing Battle Brothers. Oddly enough I’m still eagerly awaiting the blog post on upcoming changes each friday. One could say I’m somewhat enjoying Battle Brothers a fair bit and thus here I am looking for a way to conrtibute a bit.
    Turns out I’m a rather hardcore type of gamer and somehow got stuck on the XCOM style turn based schtick after a work shedule and becoming an adult prevented me from upholding the tireless effort necessary to polish the mechanical skills FPS, MOBAs and MMOs require to play them on a competetive level.

    First of all some good news. Your balancing pleases me, its actually very good and fairly consistent throughout the game. You don’t find that often in a turn based game. The usual formula goes something like this:
    Early Game troubles – everyone is mortal
    subtle Mid Game power spike – just when you thought you got the hang of it…
    Late Game grinding – kinda done with stuff, but stomping the things that handed your ass to you still remains satisfying

    Ironman is where balancing shows most obviously and delivers the most satisfying experience. Every run I play has it enabled.

    Lets assume Beginner is kind of a “story mode” you play it to see everything in the game, you don’t care about combat mechanics and just want shiny stuff to hoard, which is fine. Balancing at this level should be more or less a non concern, but I never really played at Beginner difficulty, so can’t give any feedback anyway.

    This is what I’m talking about. Battle Brother manages to hit the formula well on Veteran. You start out weak and get beaten up sometimes, aquire some tier 2 Weapons and start mopping up all those Bandits, Werewolves and Zombies with ease. Then you run into your first couple of Orc Warriors and Goblin Archers, thus losing a few trusty Mercenaries who really started growing on you. Life goes on and you finally end up with 12 guys in Coat of Scales or even better garments. Life is good, but on your neverending quest to get all the legendary stuff you deserve for your efforts, there is still something like the Goblin Capital, Ork Fortress or Black Monolith left to give your guys a good run for the money. You also get a taste of the economy in the game but are rarely starved for money or consumables.

    Taking a foothold on Expert Ironman took some try and error, but its very much enjoy- and playable. Relatively speaking there is one gate you need to pass through and it involves stabbing Werewolves. The common early game contract “hunt down what terrorizes …” very often involves Werewolves.
    Might look very simple at first but really isn’t since the game’s economy is very notably relevant on Expert. You’re starved for money, tools, weapons, armour and men basically forever. There are contracts you can’t ditch because you’re running dry already and need the money after you ditched the last contract involving some Goblins, surprise Orc Warriors or similar nasties. The enemies you face are more deadly on average and you face them with less skilled and worse equipped guys that might even need their wounds healed and armour repaired. Did I mention I like some good challenges?
    So the old faithful ragtag bunch of Werewolves is a real threat for quite a while. This means that outnumbering the early 3-6 Werewolves as much as possible, sporting as many spears as possible turned out to be my usual approach for early game. You might wanna look into making a tiny tweak on early scaling to smooth it out a bit in some places here.
    From here on out I’ll provide a quick rundown for each faction with a start rating in difficulty range from 1-5 relative to the other factions.

    Ghouls – Level 1
    They never change much and you have a rework in the pipeline so that is that.

    Zombies – Level 1-3
    honestly the addition of Fallen Heroes and the changes to Necromancers are all that was needed. They still are predictable and easy to deal with if you are prepared. But spreading your lines thin and getting swarmed by wave after wave of magically beef’d up Zombies will eventually start getting people killed.
    Once it’s reached that point you have to fight your former Brothers and they are most likely well equipped. Not a walk in the park, but very manageable.

    Bandits/Bandit Raiders – Level 1-5
    Bandits are probably my main source of equipment. Be it Spears, Falchions, Billhooks or Arming Swords. My preferred weapons of choice until I can afford or access tier 3 weaponry are all fairly common amongst the average thugs. Bandits scale all the way up to the highest threat level. Though 16+ Bandit Raiders can get a bit ridiculous especially if there are a couple Crossbows and a couple more Bows involved. My biggest surprise so far was a stray Hedgeknight joining said 16 Bandit Raiders, that was a really nice challenge (one I had to run away from like a little girl). I’d like to see more “unique” guys among the Bandits if possible. Disowned Nobles and other backgrounds turned Raubritter instead of joining your company along the way makes the world feel more alive.

    Werewolves/Beasts – Level 2
    They are what they are. Deadly to lightly armed, exhausted and/or outnumbered forces, helpless against real armour and more experienced opponents. Could really use some higher tier units if Paul gets struck by inspiration.

    Skeletons/Undead – 2-4
    Getting an Update. Current ones have huge numbers, drop like flies and lack a lategame unit after the Fallen Heroes got nabbed by the Braaaaain guys. Looking forward to it. Will miss the access to large amounts of cash and really good weapons through them dearly. Well, the new stuff looks also nice, no complaints.

    Milita – 3
    Crossbows are always nasty, but they’re mostly low tier units and the Noble Houses provide the challenge they’re lacking. 10/10 will drag with me in fights for expendable backup again. Nice mechanic btw, allows some interesting options and calculated risk in a pinch.

    Orcs – 3-5
    Orc Young are not much different from the average Bandit, they die easy and their morale isn’t really great. But, and thats a capital B there for a reason, they hit like a truck. Orc Berserkers, Warriors and Warlords all can potentially cost you a guy or two. The Charge skill as well as frequent use of Bashes and Shieldslams and -breaks makes them more than just a “Imma run at your face” threat and poses a real danger for your 2nd line troops. Orc Warriors could use some tuning though, they feel a bit weird taking a swing at one guy and hunkering back behind their shields most of the time. Since they can take a ridiculous amouns of beating, it would probably be a little over the top to give them more aggresive AI or more damage potential. If you ever feel like it give them sparse access to 2-handed Weapons to mix things up or to create another late game unit for them that could do the trick. Storming the Orc Capital was probably the hardest fight in the game so far, as a result of the sheer amount of attrition chewing through all that armour meant. The big downside of Orcs is most likely the profit. Quoting the game, “Fighting Orcs won’t come cheap” is a very accurate statement. On one hand the weapons are oddly better than even tier3 weaponry, especially the Axes, on the other hand Orc loot isn’t really profitable. There is probably a valid point to be made for bigger monetary rewards or tool yields for completing Orc contracts.

    Goblins 4-5
    I’ll be honest here. While I think they are a good addition and add a lot to the variety, there needs to change something about the Goblin faction. Fighting Goblins in a swamp is probably the least fun and most tedious thing that can happen playing Battle Brothers. That wouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem if Goblins wouldn’t seem to have some natural affinity towards those. Also night time vision doesn’t seem to affect Goblin Archer’s Range or accuracy so I’d start there. If they would face about half as much penalty as humans at night that would go a long way.
    Wolf Riders, throwing weapons, poision, nets and bleeding are all fine. What isn’t is another archer thing – Quick Hands combined with Daggers. Goblin archers aren’t bad melee combatants, in fact they are fairly hard to hit. After finally catching up to them through a swamp it happens fairly often that a Battle Brother has to take 4 swings from a Goblin Archer until he himself lands his first hit. If that happended to be Dagger special attacks, the guy might just drop dead from full HP in disregard of his plare armour and 70+ HP. This right there is a problem if you don’t mind an opinion on the matter.
    Goblins face the same issue as Orcs for being not profitable at all. Until very far into the game you risk losing people in every engagement and have to cure a bunch of injuries and repair a lot of armour after each encounter against them. As a result I tend to avoid Goblin contracts like the plague unless absolutely necessary.

    Bounty Hunters/Noble Houses – 5
    Really nice equipment, but won’t go down without a fight. High risks yield high rewards. Encountering them is rather rare (in fact I think my only encounter with Noble Houses was as allies in battle)

    Special Mention:

    A real threat once you are locked up with chaff in numbers, will be interesting how many are included in the Ancient Dead’s ranks.

    Los Souls:
    Hands down the most dangerous enemy in the game, very hard to hit, avoids melee, pierces armour. 2 or 3 Lost Souls we’re enough to lead even basic Skeletons or Zombies to victory against my mercenaries in the past on lower difficulties. I’ve also had the pleasure to run into locations filled with nothing but Lost Souls on 2 occasions. Well, since you’re trying to make morale more interesting I’d highly suggest to take a look at them as well. 3 and up are more or less madness and require specific perks on all Battle Brothers that are fairly useless 95% of the time otherwise.

    If someone were to ask I’d probably had an opinion to remove the whole morale thing from the perk tree and rework it as a secondary thing. This one would only be available to a few Bannermen/Hornblowers/Officers somewhat like XCOM’s Officer System.

    Last thing on the Menue would be my thanks and gratitude for all the time and effort you put into making this game I never knew I always wanted. As it stands I can see myself playing this for a very long time after release. Now if you could get sieges and fortifications to work somehow….

    Avatar photoRusBear

    I’ve been thinking that it is necessary to change the mechanics of the puncture. the opponent should not be exposed to this strike if his chance is actually negative. For example – your knight has 70 def, even if the goblin ambusher melee skill is 80 (though this is nonsense) chance of hitting would be minus 5%, and on the fact that the game will be considered a plus 5, and of course the great random- goblin gets the first strike. it is sh…bad.
    Puncture is too powerful and dangerous conditions in this game – you can not so simply to give 5% to any opponent especially when the opponents are always more and they do not care about the loss

    Avatar photoSchopenhauer


    Just logged in for saying I agree almost 100% with your evaluation on the different factions. I can tell that you thought about BB quite a lot and made some well-grounded arguments.

    Overhype: please read it!

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