Reply To: [suggestion] Clearly unbalanced enemies

Avatar photoDanubian

Stupid forum decided to log me out as i was posting reply, so 20 mins of typing went poof. Wonderful.

I appreciate your point of view Danubian, and i’m glad you’ve provided both screen shots and fair critique. I understand that you want the game to feel balanced, and frankly I somewhat agree with your assessment of the goblins to some degree. However, I don’t really share your hatred of the orcs, or your opinion that massive balance changes on the orcs need to occur. Granted, as a matter of full disclosure, I would not, under any circumstances run into a battle against 10 orc warriors. If I saw that coming at me, I would laugh hysterically, and “nope” right on in the opposite direction. I wouldn’t have the game any other way frankly.
The game world is one where your mercenary band of mortal human fighters are battling against incredible odds. Losing soldiers is a part of the game, which is why there is a loading tip that clearly states “expect to lose some men”, and even one that says “if the odds are against you, retreat to fight another day”. Unless you’ve got a band of fully upgraded soldiers that are specced to deal effectively with most situations, many battles rated even or above become a question of “how many soldiers will i lose”.

Game designs that centers around ROLE PLAYING characters, which means getting player (emotionally) invested and also spending time improving these characters (experience and equipment) sort of doesnt work well with the concept that you are supposed to lose these characters all the time.

The in game warning about being ready to lose them is fine. At first when you start the game and have no equipment or experience. Obtaining experience and best possible attainable equipment (non unique obviously) and losing brothers just because is a horrible game design (specially in an RPG). And i really hope thats not the BB devs design philosophy. And for one simple reason. Im sure that there are people who would LOVE to play BB under such balance rules that any enemy in game can 1 hit kill your brothers. But those players are very few, a niche within a niche. So catering to tastes of maybe 2 out 100 people is a very bad idea, specially if it turns away those 98 people entirely. In other words i dont want to take anything away from you. You like the game as it is, i say fine. Thats what you have highest difficulty level setting for. Im arguing about easiest difficulty setting which should provide a more casual gameplay experience.
Im willing to bet you that 98/100 players will quit battle and reload autosave upon losing a fully equipped level 8+ brother in a battle. I do it. Every single time. Losing them just isnt satisfying or fun.

It’s a matter of you against insane odds, but the game does allow you to heavily swing those odds in your favor. It’s pretty easy to wait for small squads to come out of a camp, and pick them off one at a time. After a while of taking out smaller parties belonging to a single camp, the rating of the camp itself will fall, and your odds against it will improve pretty substantially. Battle Brothers as a game encourages picking battles carefully, especially early on, and that doesn’t entirely change when you’re the big bamf on the map. Frankly, I think the design is a fairly realistic approach, and I really appreciate the devs for it. Force the odds in your favor by attacking smaller squads, and if you find yourself faced with deadly, or even a fair battle, just don’t fight it. One of the most hilarious points from the Art of War says don’t fight battles you aren’t sure you can win, or “don’t fight fair battles”. It’s a waste of resources and soldiers if it can be avoided. This game forces you to keep that in mind, and i’m not sure that it’s unintentional on part of the devs.

I agree completely with you. Thats part of the BB charm. Its just the way things are set right now, it tends to be brutally difficult. Setting up certain characters in certain ways does not give you a role playing advantage, it is absolutely necessary to survive. And that is a balancing problem. Game can be made interesting and challenging without every decision being a 1 or 0 situation where one is survival and other is doom. Again im all for giving people challenge if thats what they want. Thats what difficulty settings are for.

As for fights, deny your enemies the high ground. Shield bash them away from high positions and take the ground for yourself. I kind of doubt that the orc in that screenshot had the ap to both move to his position on the high ground and then break both of your shields. It’s one orc young, but his location puts both of your brothers in that shot in a pretty awful position. I would be curious to know how he got into that position in the first place. Was it unavoidable? Did your character’s have deflect? How about heater shields?

The orc on the hill moved there in the first turn. I was forced with two choices. Getting right next to it, and pushing it away the next turn. Or getting 1 field away from it, and then getting charged and stunned for 1 turn. I opted for first choice. Since it played before me (iirc) it got to attack me the next turn before i could push it away. Under normal circumstances that wouldnt be any problem because i would just take that damage and push it away.
Of course the point here is not a tactical analysis of that battle (whether it had the high ground or not).

The problem is the fact that it managed to kill 2 shields in 1 turn.

^ that is a balancing problem as it destroys the whole purpose of a shield. (btw i have had a unique named shield also destroyed by an Orc in a single hit before)

Train up your archers before fighting tougher bands of orcs. A single archer with focus can very easily waste an incoming berserker, or at the least, nerf his damage if you happen to have the debilitate perk. As for the crossbows, damage can be strongly hit or miss. Some crossbow shots will yield a disappointing amount of damage. On the other side of the same coin, I’ve seen armored orcs take a sizeable chunk of health damage from a single crossbow shot. I’ve also seen crossbow headshots outright kill orc warriors that had most of their health left. You aren’t going to see the full range of the crossbow’s capability in a single battle waged to get a single screenshot. For that matter, what level was your archer in that shot? To be fair, a low damage shot can even happen to level 11 brothers, but i would still like to know.

This is what i do.

My archer in that screenshot was around level 3-4 with more than 60 archery (i save game/reloaded when i started that game until i picked up characters with properties i wanted).

Note that at level 11 they dont do any different damages with crossbows. In fact i would argue that bows are much better than crossbows as now with ~75 archery skill they tend to hit almost always twice. And crossbow really mostly does that amount of damage. Unless it scores a head shot? Which any other weapon can do as well?

In a battle where there are no berserkers, then you should prioritize by weapon type. The orc that destroyed your shields had an axe, and he should be one of the first enemies that you take out of the fight for exactly that reason.

Prioritizing weapons is fine. An Orc destroying 2 shields with 1 hit each is not fine. Thats stupidly broken/out of balance.

Between the weapon, shield, and perk variations, there is a pretty nice variety of ways to plan for battles with orcs. In a very serious way, single battles are won in bb before the fight even starts. I’ll concede your goblin issue. It’s absolutely 0 fun chasing enemies around the map, especially since dogs aren’t all that intelligent, and don’t run for the archer units if there are melee units nearby. Other than that though, I very much like the game as it is. It’s not that I’ve come to accept broken design as you’ve implied. That statement assumes quite a bit about willingness on my part to put up with bullshi*t and that’s just not the case. We don’t know each other, so don’t assume that i’m prone to rolling over for bad design choices just because I disagree with you about something. There are plenty of things that I would very much like changed in BB, but orc balance is not one of them. I just think that the difficulty of the orcs, and the necessity of using every single advantage that the player has to come out on top is an intended part of the game’s fabric. I could be wrong, and I’ll concede that immediately if the devs decide to correct me.

As they are right now, beating Orc Warriors doesnt require planning or strategy. It requires you to start the game, save game/reload until you are able to recruit absolutely optimal set up of brothers, level them up to around level 10, equip them with 200 body and 200 helmet armor, get the best weapons, and even then you can beat them only if there are no more than 10 of them. I will admit that 68 hours into the game i have no clue how i would beat more than 10 Orc Warriors (im not even 100% sure i could beat 10 with my current level 11 group).

Orc Warriors need to:

a.) be nerfed
b.) implemented differently
c.) redesigned

a.) = pretty straight forward process. Pick one attribute, and focus on it. If they are supposed to be tough to kill, then nerf their damage, remove their mobility and so on. So in other words make them excel in one thing, and then suck at everything else.

b.) = instead of them showing up en masse in some groups and in some on map camps, have them appear only in the absolutely end game content encounters. Also limit their numbers in map roaming encounters to no more than a couple (fighting 3+ of them at like level 5 is impossible). Also groups that have them should not be “puny”. They are the most powerful enemy in game?

c.) = take the entire Orc faction, and introduce new Orc units and new Orc weapons. Each Orc unit would be a gradual improvement over the last one. And they would also get gradually better and better weapons. What this would allow is for players to have variety. Various Orc groups could be comprised out of different mixes of Orc units, and this would also remove the necessity for Orc Warriors to be seen in regular on-map groups. Limit their numbers and have them appear only in most important battles on top. Note that im not saying that new Orc types should be weak or anything, im just saying give them variety and make them less powerful than Orc Warriors. Those just arent fun to fight.

I do think that the fatigue of orc warriors can be toned down a bit. Pushing aside your units while wearing all of that heavy armor should be a bit more costly than it is for them at the moment, but that’s about it. To be fair, I may well have tunnel vision. I’ve put more than 120 hours into the game and perhaps (JUST MAYBE) i’ve grown tolerant of some questionable things. I’ll admit that much. The fact that I’m perfectly willing to call BS on pretty much all of the spawning system, location diversity, and the frequency of bandidt marksmen spawning with crossbows, tells me that i might not have complete olfactory fatigue on bullsh*t. The orcs are the only remaining challenge after you get decent equipment and five brothers to level 11. I’d like them to remain that way.

After having spent 2 days fighting Orcs Warriors i can tell you this much.

The only thing that stopping them from being Brutally overpowered (opposed to just OP) is their fatigue. Their armors and weapons tend to fill up their max fatigue after about 4 or 5 rounds, so the more they walk, the better. With nimble melee build *IF* my melee fighters manage not to get brutalized during first ~3 melee rounds in a fight VS Orc Warriors, Orc Warriors will usually max out fatigue, and from there on they will *mostly* have only enough fatigue to attack once / turn. And thats great because they tend to spend about 1/3 of their moves pushing my bros (more they push less they can attack), 1/3 using the shield defense thingie (specially if surrounded) and only 1/3 attacking (dealing damage).
The biggest problem i have is when there is so many of them (usually 6+) that i cant face each one with more than 2 brothers. Thats where it gets tricky to beat them & survive.