Reply To: My first impressions

Avatar photoAktenschredder

Solid game for an early access – and the potential to become great until full release is definitively there. Thank you!

My wishlist:
1. Add a deployment phase prior to tactical battles: A minor annoyance for me is that my battlebrothers never spawn in the formation, I would like them to. In particular, the AI tends to put all my spearmen on one end of the line and all the sword/axe/club guys on the other end. This could also flesh out the difference between attacking and being ambushed since the player wouldn’t get a deployment phase in the latter case.

2. Autopause on the worldmap: I think someone else suggested that elsewhere. Please copy the feature from Mount&Blade where time automatically pauses if the player stops moving his stack. Makes life so much easier.

And since I hijacked Trig’s thread some thoughts on his comments:

Enemies (on map)

1. First the difficulty. For the enjoyment of a progressing company career, there should be more locations to attack, but with scaling difficulty. On level 1 it tends to be nigh impossible to beat even a “Weak” outpost, while At level 5 many “Average” ones will still be unreasonably difficult. I am a rather good tactician so I did win also 8 to 20 encounters, so I’m not complaining it’s too hard, but it is a bit unforgivingly hard and losing men you took a long time to build up for some orc junk is rarely worth it. Some “Puny” outpost for early game would be welcome, later on, more scaled outposts, probably in concentric circles. “Puny” in the centre of the map, “Very strong” at its edges.

2. Second, rate of spawning of parties. There was this stretch of road through a forest between two town, that seems to have been worked by two bandit gangs at once so there was always a double ambush in the same spot, leading to several 8 to 18 battles. I found the camps nearby which had strength “Strong” so I didn’t dare attack them (since I was still getting destroyed by “Average” ones), but what I could do was to keep “milking” the “Weak” raiding and scout parties coming from them for easy XP an loot. There was a few new ones there every day, enabling easy money. Probably after taking out a scout party the enemy should rest a while before producing a new one, or send out a strong patrol first, to see who killed theirs. The rate of spawning kinda prevents the player from travelling to the other side of the map to take care of business there.

My first run was even worse: After beeating the opening mission, I travelled to the next village. Half way to it, a wearwolf-pack (power-rating average) attacked. Since you can’t outrun werewolves for long, they caught me before I made it to the village. Surprisingly, I managed to beat 6 wolves with my 7 scrubs … but at the cost of 3 men. So I bought more scrubs and continued my travels. One day later, yet another pack of wolves attacked me (different area). 2 more dead battlebrothers, all my founding members were dead at that point. All I had left were 4 raw recruits. The constant need to refill numbers also screwed with my cashflow forcing me to take the only contract available which turned out to be a caravan mission across the entire map. Sadly, all went to **** when the caravan pathfinding turned out to be very quirky (it lost a day avoiding an orc party raiding a hamlet and another day crossing a mountain ridge (supposed shortcut). I went broke and my first soldier deserted … at which point I called it quits and restarted.

Second run is the exact opposite. Day 13 and I haven’t lost a battlebrother. The band is full, money is plenty and I haven’t had to deal with anything but a seemingly endless supply of bandits (some raiders but mostly thugs).

In short: difficulty seems to depend very much on the quirks of each particular random map. Run into the wrong enemies early on and it gets insanely tough. Get a good start and the game is almost too easy since you quickly get to a point where the average raiding party is no danger but rather free ressources and xp. Whereas you can pick when/if you attack the tougher enemy outposts.

Own party

1. Types of troopers. All throughout history the greatest majority of mercenaries are people with military experience. In this game it’s mainly peasants, miners, riff-raff, etc. While those do join mercenaries too, at least half of the unit types should have some sort of military experience. There is a reason why commanders usually hated peasant levies as anything more than cannon-fodder, so we shouldn’t depend on millers and rat catchers as the core of our little army. Guardsmen, bowmen, halberdiers, arbalesters, catapult engineers, lieutenants, sergeants, captains, etc should all be looking for mercenary work.

Actually the game seems pretty realistic from what I have read about medieval mercenaries. The rank and file seems to have come from humble origins. Granted most leaders had a more professional background (soldiers, minor noblemen) – but others had lifes that look to be straight out of battlebrothers: just google John Hawkwood (it seems he was the son of a tanner who became a tailor before he started his career as soldier and rose to lead mercenary bands in France and Italy where he eventually died an extremely rich man praised as savior of Florence which earned him a state funeral and a monument by Ucello).

2. Unit costs. I think the upkeep cost of hiring the “better” units is prohibitively high. I don’t mind paying 1000 crowns to hire a knight, but 25 per day is then just crazy. Particularly since his advantages are something like +10 in skills, which I can buff up also in a rat catcher in 2 or 3 level-ups. And some disadvantages, such as -10 fatigue for some old veterans, combined with asthma which they often have, makes them pretty useless in the end with any kind of armour anyway. I’m fine with high hiring costs, but daily costs should be made more sensible to correspond to the sort of money you can even make…

I second that: In fact, I have received expensive recruits with worse stats than my millers, graverobbers or the other scum I tend to recruit. Currently the way to go seems to recruit cheap. There are some good backgrounds in the 6-8 gold/day range (miller, graverobber, gravedigger, fisherman, farmhand) and even the real trash like cultist and monks can turn out surprisingly decent (especially since it doesn’t hurt much to just fire them if their stats are too bad).
I understand that you have to pay for the better equipment when you hire people with more sophisticated backgrounds but the per/day costs make them bottomless moneypits.

3. Jobs and money. As with most economies nowadays, there are simply not enough available.

Agreed but that is certain to get more flashed out as development continues.