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I started a Blog for Total War in China

MaxTWMaxTW Posts: 3Registered Users
Hi everyone,
Last month, I was sickened by the ignorance of some naysayers who believe a TW game set in China would be as boring as Shougn 2. So I searched some texts from the Warring States period and translated them into a faction preview:

The response was unexpectedly popular. To push it further, I decided to write a Blog, Total War Eras in China, introducing eligible eras in China for TW game, from Spring & Autumn to Imjin War.

My goal is to open up discussion between Total War players and fans of Chinese history. So if you have some thing related to Chinese history or war games worthy of sharing, send it to me and I will post it to the blog. Even if CA will not set their next title in China, which is unlikely, we can still learn a lot Chinese history from each other.

Comments

  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 12
    I read that blog before. Interesting from a historical perspective, but honestly not from a gameplay perspective. And ultimately, from at least the first post, it really is ultimately playing out like Shogun2- same unit roster but with a few stat buffs between factions. With Warhammer the bar has been raised much higher where separate races operate in asymmetrical style of gameplay.

    The fact that your lists of the states' respective powers have no hearing on actual unit or gameplay style contradicts your assertion.

    A huge portion of playing Total War is managing settlements and units. If there was a drawback to Shogun2, it's that ultimately no matter where you start, you play the same thing. You miss the point of what people say about (Warring States) China being boring like Shogun2.

    You may notice that a lot of the feedback revolves around things like adding unique races like Xiongu, presumably because they want diversity.

    The fact that it's "all about China" is itself a problem- it can't really be about diversity, because it needs to also be about China becoming China, which means homogeneity. At least in Shogun2 it's established fact that everyone plays around the same stuff...and hardly without its drawbacks,.

    You'd have to make up a lot of plausible differences among the factions to make them separate experiences from eachother; different starting locations and a few buffs here and there won't be enough, not with what Warhammer's given us. Games with great scale but little depth are tremendously difficult to get through this hurdle, because the scale of diversity is exponentially greater because everyone's Chinese, or in the case of Empire, everyone has line infantry and cannons. This was no different even in Rome2, where Oathsworn were effectively Gallic legionaries.
    I mean let's take the Flaming Bull unit: it's just going to be flaming pigs suicidal unit thrown at the enemy, and historically was used in a night attack against an enemy camp. That's hardly analogous to a patched battle.

    If anything, the biggest advantage of a Warring States game is that you play with as few factions as possible, in similar manner to Shogun2. If you could play 14 factions but they al operate the same, it's indeed boring. CA knew this and only had like 7 major clans that fight minor clans as first phase of the campaign. Naturally this means simply not having some of your aforementioned states as playable factions, either permanently or as DLC later on, considering CA's modus operandi.

    There's apparently an early access game called Oriental Empires that seems practically a ripoff of Total War- very similar style of gameplay and even UI.

    China may offer huge map and lots of factions and indeed was not homogeneous in reality...but none of that matters when trying to make a videogame. The historical context of Rome2 was certainly large and not homogenous...but gameplay it turned out that way.
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  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 8,217Registered Users
    A diverse China Total War experience would be Southern Song period, Ming period or the "Twilight of the Dragon", the 19th century. All of these times had the Chinese mix up with other countries which would avoid the stale Shogun2 mode of "colour vs different colour".

  • MaxTWMaxTW Posts: 3Registered Users
    To daelin4:
    1."The fact that your lists of the states' respective powers have no hearing on actual unit or gameplay style contradicts your assertion."
    I don't have any ability on modification. A faction review is the quickest way to pique people's interest. I can't write a looooooong post, bore people on Reddit to death and expect them to read all. That's why I'm writing this blog. Step by step, I will explore the options to make the TW game of each era appealing. You can't say I contradict myself if I haven't tell you everything.

    2. "The fact that it's "all about China" is itself a problem- it can't really be about diversity, because it needs to also be about China becoming China, which means homogeneity. ."
    Thing is, China wasn't a homogenized culture to begin with. Those who say so are unfortunately uninformed. the State of Chu(楚) was a culture of its own origin, for example. Later on, China had more racial conflicts in the later eras, particularly in the Age of 16 Kingdoms, roughly the same time when Attila the Hun rose in Europe. This is a time when the Han Chinese and the immigrants of 5 nomads mixed up their identity and spurned each other. There're Chinese warlords who believe they're nomads and slaughtered other Han Chinese and nomadic emperors who did the opposite. Also, I haven't touched the Mongol Invasion and Imjin War yet! Those were true international conflicts, where the diversity of unit roster and vicotry goal are bound to be have.

    3. "....because the scale of diversity is exponentially greater because everyone's Chinese, or in the case of Empire, everyone has line infantry and cannons. This was no different even in Rome2, where Oathsworn were effectively Gallic legionaries."
    That comes from CA's end. In Rome 2, they wanted to give each faction a little of everything to cater the multiplayer side of the game, which was reversed when you saw how Slavic factions were removed of melee cavalry in Attila. Now you see how they give each faction in Warhammer I & II a unique roster and a special goal for victory.
    CA is undoubtedly learning from its past.
    Take Warring States for instance, the State of Zhao(趙) was the first among 7 states to discard chariots and heavy infantry for cavalry. CA can make them almost indistinguishably nomadic as King Wu-Lin intended, and thus separate them from other 6 states. It can be done. The question is how to do it.

    4. "I mean let's take the Flaming Bull unit: it's just going to be flaming pigs suicidal unit thrown at the enemy, and historically was used in a night attack against an enemy camp. That's hardly analogous to a patched battle."
    Sure, you can argue against it with me, but good luck on doing that against millions of Chinese who grew up with that story. Cimbri women only fought against Romans once, and yet CA made a unit of them any way. If you want diversity, something's gotta give in.

    4. "If anything, the biggest advantage of a Warring States game is that you play with as few factions as possible, in similar manner to Shogun2. If you could play 14 factions but they al operate the same, it's indeed boring. CA knew this and only had like 7 major clans that fight minor clans as first phase of the campaign. Naturally this means simply not having some of your aforementioned states as playable factions, either permanently or as DLC later on, considering CA's modus operandi."
    Thanks, I'll bear that in mind in the future. I only showed 7 major powers in my Reddit post and had no intention to add any further, maybe add the powerless Emperor of Zhou for joke sake. I'll remain concentrated on major powers in my later articles.
  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 16
    You contradict yourself when you make a statement about a subject, but when discussing said subject don't talk about it. There can only be two reasons: you forgot, or you don't have anything to say about an actual Total War game about China. Because really, you ahve not. Just history points.
    MaxTW said:


    Thing is, China wasn't a homogenized culture to begin with. Those who say so are unfortunately uninformed.

    I studied Chinese history. Neither are relevant to saying a Total War China would work. You need to make a game out of it. Talking about the state of Chu, Shu Han's rivalry with Wu and Cao Wei, and Qing campaigns against Taiping rebels mean nothing when can't even brainstorm up a game that would feature them. That was my point. What you need to discuss are things like whether Qin is a state that specializes in cavalry, as some history books claim, or they have great archers, as movies like Hero claims.
    MaxTW said:


    CA can make them almost indistinguishably nomadic as King Wu-Lin intended, and thus separate them from other 6 states. It can be done. The question is how to do it.

    A question that everyone trying to pitch a China themed TW avoids. No wonder there isn't a game for it: no one knows what to demand, because no one knows what they want.
    MaxTW said:


    Sure, you can argue against it with me, but good luck on doing that against millions of Chinese who grew up with that story.

    If CA makes such a unit they won't care. Samurai were portrayed terribly in Shogun2, and even if millions of Japanese complained, end of the day they made a game unit that worked in the game.
    MaxTW said:


    I'll remain concentrated on major powers in my later articles.

    What you need to concentrate is what this game would actually look like, what units, how settlements operate, how diplomacy works, etc.
    Literally anything else people can look up on wikipedia. You're designing a game, not giving history lessons. Something's gotta give as you say; sometimes that means some historical accuracy.
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  • MaxTWMaxTW Posts: 3Registered Users
    edited May 16
    Thank you for your insight. I have been troubled by the blog's low popularity. Maybe I need to write more tangible clues on "How it would be in the game" for the readers than "How it was". I have to hasten up on gathering data to reach that capability.

    Lastly, apologies if I offended you by saying naysayers are uninformed. It's just frustrating to see most people I met in the past shake their heads, deny my presented historic facts, yet suggest nothing constructive when I asked for help. I feel sorry for making that foolish assumption on you.
  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 18
    I think you are right in that, though many are enthused via the "how it was", there ends up being very little discussed in how it would actually look like. I think that is the main difference of perspective between the two groups, where one can see how great the idea is, but have no imagination to its reality, and the other only sees the reality and ask how would it actually work. I'm more of the latter.

    On the issue of cultural homogeneity (or not); it doesn't matter if it's something like writing, cuisine or clothing, because ultimately this is a Total War game where the difference is unit roster and, potentially, skills. Shogun2 there was minimal differences, the only difference besides starting position was that Mori had a buff to naval units, whereas Shimazu had a buff to Katana Samurai. Besides that, everything else was identical; even the main characters, all historical, were essentially the same.
    But even then there were implausible liberties with history taken for same of game design: the idea of 120 samurai troops using only swords fighting together in a field is honestly unthinkable. Even the sub-differences of the caste were not present- poorer samurai did not feature, or look like having, lesser armour.

    Moreover, most of the finer details like armour and sword design and introduction of firearms, occurred in periods outside of the more popular epochs. Warring States and Three Kingdoms are most recognizable periods of Chinese history, but it wasn't until like 800 years later that gunpowder was invented. Naturally, you either have to fill that in with, say, crossbows vs bowmen, AND have to have significant tactical implications between the two (ie longer vs shorter range, unit cost, flat/ arcing trajectory, etc.).

    EDIT: I dug up an old book called First Emperor of China, which obviously focuses on the Qin and the first emperor, but also gives (general) information of particular details like certain states' dispositions relative to eachother. For example, Qin was originally a fief with the purpose of raising horses for the Zhou; naturally, this was attributed to their advantageous development of cavalry over chariots, and their geography also gave them relative protection from strategic attacks. Statesmen were described as of good pedigree, and their development of an independent state went hand in hand with conflict with barbarians, whom they constantly fought and absorbed their land and culture, giving them a great initial edge as they eventually conquered the other states. One critical factor in their success as a state were agricultural reforms which resulted in greater resilience to attrition and attracted both peasants and intelligentsia to the state. Their adoption of Legalism brought many beneficial (if not controversial) changes to how the early Chinese operated; success was greatly rewarded, but failure was easily a fatal mistake.
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 19
    Having read a bit more into the specific details of several states (and tryign to navigate multiple book's varying romanization of names!), I've scrounged up a framework of how a Total War game based in China might look like:


    Several classes of faction categories:
    -Northern Chinese factions: hybrid of Central and barbarian elements, ie cavalry and military based
    examples would be: Qin, Yan, Zhao
    -Central Chinese factions: conventional Chinese elements
    Han,
    -Southern Chinese: hybrid of southern and Chinese elements
    Chu, Wu, Yue
    -Northern Nomads: Mongols, other horse-based factions, etc.
    -Southern Tribes: Indigenous southern cultures

    -Move the period earlier to Spring and Autumn, so that you play at the beginning of the states' forumation of power rather than in the middle; this allows for longer development and, in a sandbox game, can greatly differ in forming a Warring States scenario

    -Alongside the seven main states, a myriad of minor NPC states provide political and military context outside of the major states' warfare against eachother. Some of the mare minor Chinese contenders caught between the major ones; others are non-Chinese factions that bring about different approaches via their own rosters and methods of fighting (ie mounted archers).


    Wu Qi in the Osprey book "Ancient Chinese Armies 1500-200BC" is stated as summarizing some of the states' military as follows:
    Qin: brave but undisciplined (bonus charge bonus, but penalty to morale?)
    Chu: good armour and weapons, but lacked expertise in their use (technological progression, but increased costs?)
    Yen: stupid and honest, defensive and lacking in strategy (ignoring the blatant bias, distinctions could be defensive-oriented bonuses, ie increased siege duration time, combat bonuses when defending)
    Han, Wei, Zhao: well-organized but war-weary, lacking loyalty (ignoring the blatant bias, far too broad and general in description to be of use for thinking up a faction for a game).

    -non-Chinese factions occupy the borders of the campaign map; northern Mongoloid factions form the typical nomadic barbarians, offering different unique rosters and relationships with neighbouring Chinese factions; northern Chinese factions, for example, can be differentiated by hybrid rosters including more nomadic elements like increased emphasis on cavalry units (there is mention in the Opresy book's illustrations of Tien and Wu warriors, but given the inconsistent Wades-Giles romanization used in the book it's nigh impossible to figure out what the heck these are).

    Some interesting ways to spruce up the campaign situation:
    -the factions of Han, Wei and Zhao start as vassals under the mega-faction Jin; like England in MTW2's Kindgoms: Britannia campaign, the purpose of the relationship is that playing as either three states has you try to handle the precarious relationship, or attempt to split away early and rise to power via independence. There can be benefits for retaining the vassalage as long as possible like access to special resources, whereby you can progress and develop yourself far enough until confident in breaking away, or you can make things exciting by splitting away early. Relationship with the other factions could also determine whether this is possible or is forced upon you.
    Historically, the Jin state comprised all three until it fragmented; this partition marks the end of the Spring Autumn period, and thus begins the Warring States period.

    Details on individual major factions (seven main states)

    Qin state is tucked safely in a corner of the north western portion of the Zhou dynasty's territory; in many ways it is like the Dwarfs and Greenskins in Warhammer: tucked at the corner of the map, they have only one direction of attack for invaders, its flanks guarded by mountains and rivers. Adoption of barbarian cultural elements is commonly referenced in books, particularly matters of cavalry; irrigation developments also allegedly improve it's advantageous position over other states, offering population growth and thus ability to support larger armies. It gained the disdain of some other Chinese states due to their willingful adoption of barbarian elements, but frankly these elements allowed them to eventually conquer the rest.
    Qin faction could be designed as such:
    -Bonuses for cavalry (common northern trait)
    -Starts at war with neighbouring barbarian factions
    -Diplomatic penalty to other Chinese factions via cultural aversion (common northern trait)
    -Reduced attrition
    -Bonus to population growth
    -Greater morale bonus when winning; greater morale penalties when losing battles
    -Unique Unit: heavy lancer cavalry?

    -Chu achieved independence from the faltering Zhou dynasty very early in its history; at the start of the campaign, it can be a virtual rival power in the way Carthage was to Rome; it's relationships with other states has been characterized as antagonistic, expansionist and a virtual bully, leveraging it's larger size and greater resources to coerce other factions' affairs.
    As such, it can be designed to have poor diplomacy with other Chinese factions, and holding a firm thumb under some of the minor states, but makes up for it with some strong starting dispositions. A major part of the gameplay, then, is about manoeuvring between the various states to produce buffers and vassals among some, so that you can conquer others piecemeal. Of course this means everyone can turn against you quickly, so playing as Chu you're either always at war, with peace being juggled amongst numerous factions.
    Unlike Jin's conglomerate setup, Chu is a single powerful entity- you don't start with vassals or allies, your neighbours are either enemies or neutral. This means you have to manage a lot of territory on your own and need to forge some good buffer states between enemies...or quickly start conquering all adjacent territories for a good head start. More than other factions, aggressive military gameplay will be the focal point of Chu.

    In summary, a Chu faction could look like this:
    -Bonuses to attacking, conquering
    -Starts at war with neighbouring barbarian, Chinese factions
    -Prone to diplomatic penalties due to aggressive playstyle
    -Unique Unit: Chu Armoured Crossbowmen; resilient missile infantry

    Jin states: The states of Wei, Han and Zhao were the fragments of the earlier Zhou-era state of Jin; in a campaign starting earlier than warring states period, this means that one has to design the map where all four states exist, but with a political relationship that allows the three to operate as playable states, but the Jin as an overlord NPC that serves to direct or temper their ambitions against eachother. RTW's Roman factions would be the model to which my ideas for these factions will be based on.
    You got the Zhao which are north, and Wei and Han being central; these three states have close relationships with eachother at the start of the campaign, but you as the player can obviously decide on your own how to deal with the other factions when you begin.
    All three states start as vassals to the Jin, of which can give orders, but also lack power should any of the states decide to head their own way. The way you play these three states could have some similarities and differences. This make for a unique style of gameplay for these three factions, because much of it relies on following or ignoring objectives granted by the Jin, where fulfilling them allow you many and potentially powerful, lifesaving benefits that can compensate for the lack of apparent political freedom.

    Han- small size and surrounded by bigger states; like you say in your blog, the most suitable playstyle would be handling diplomacy to keep bigger factions off your back and having them pitted against eachother. Following under the heels of the Jin's directive, you can bolster yourself without necessarily having to aggressively expand. Given it's relationship with the Zhou dynasty family, an additional unique element of playing as Han is prestige, having better diplomatic leverage to secure yourself against enemies by more easily making allies.

    Han faction could then be designed as such:
    -small size
    -various diplomacy skills, ie starting traits for characters improve diplomacy
    -greater emphasis on agents for politics
    -more reliant on Jin overlord, diplomacy for initial successes
    -few military advantages, but can gain iron access earlier
    -unique unit: mounted crossbowmen? There is mention of crossbows having developed to be light enough to be wielded while on horseback
    -matured development of iron for weapons (in an age where bronze, interestingly, remained common, depending on the book you read)

    Overall, I found Han a bit difficult to craft into a relevant playable faction- it's features are honestly a bit lacklustre and unremarkable compared with the more exotic Qin and Chu; I suppose it can be one of those quintessential Chinese kind of factions that rely on infantry and archers and chariots in a more "classical" fashion..but then again it's been noted by multiple sources of their technological progression compared with other states. I'm tempted to make even more stretches of historical elements to try to make the state interesting.
    Looking over geography I suppose the way Han's unit roster could be designed to be balanced; utilizing equal use of things like chariots, cavalry, and all manner of infantry types, and not having any particular strengths in each class.

    Wei- playing a bit similar to Han but with greater territory. Thus the Wei are less reliant on diplomacy and more open to military options, whether it be conservative Chinese elements like Chariots (compared with Han, a greater part of Wei features flat terrain), or move to adopt more cavalry like that of Qin and Zhao.
    In other words, a Wei faction would, in my view, best be designed as a jack of all trades type of faction, where it can easily gain access to nearly all special and exotic elements in the game, at the cost of not being particularly special with any of them.
    Like the other two states, Wei starts as a vassal to Jin, but unlike Han, Wei is greater leverage to forge its own path thanks to its greater size. Western neighbours being Qin and barbarians allow the faction to expand and acquire cavalry rather fast, and/or make use of chariots to fight against the other plains states to the east. Zhao may pose a problem, but itself needs to deal with handling an even larger territory and wars against more barbarian factions further north.
    Of the seven major states in the game, Wei is right at the centre and so boasts the most versatile playstyle of all, the effective jack of all trades faction.

    -mid sized
    -various diplomacy skills, ie starting traits for characters improve diplomacy
    -slightly reliant on Jin overlord for initial success
    -few starting advantages, but moderate amount of enemies allow for steady increase in power
    -versatility in military units
    -greater availability (or reliance) on non-Chinese mercenaries

    Like Han, Wei is problematic in that there seems to be no specific historical details about them that can be made to differentiated from other states; any specific references to Wei can be applied to a number of other states (such as Wei and three other states being early proponents of cavalry, or Qin and Wei being despised for their usage of Hu tribesmen). The best way I can come up with a unique flavour for Wei would be the above combination, where it's jack of all trades, greater focus on mercenaries from anywhere; it's in the middle of the map and thus often would be in the middle of any action, from war to tech/ civil progress.

    Zhao is probably the most interesting of the three Jin states, because it's the northernmost, and features much like the Qin in their playstyle. Of all the playable states is is arguably the one that's going to be fighting northern barbarian factions the most, and thus their playstyle will be much more a hybrid of Chinese and nomads than the Qin. Unlike the Qin, there is no safe have, so it's practically all about war when playing this faction. While diplomacy can stave off attacks from other Chinese factions, Zhao will almost always going to be about fighting nomads, which the player must put to advantage in order to win. Of all the Chinese factions in the game, the
    Historically the Zhao were initially weak, but after some reforms ended being so powerful they were a direct rival to the Qin before their defeat at Changping. The playstyle I envision for Zhao would thus be about initial weakness, but with great potential to rapidly expand and develop through the early game. Aggressive fighting and expansion will be a central element to playing as Zhao as a result, your typical "best defense is offense" form of play. It is like playing as Qin, but without any of their starting advantages- this is the hardcore difficult faction of the seven, where it's going to be hard straight from the beginning, but if you make it through you're a powerful faction in the map.

    -largest of Jin states
    -various diplomacy skills, ie starting traits for characters improve diplomacy
    -Bonuses for cavalry (common northern trait)
    -Starts at war with neighbouring barbarian factions
    -Diplomatic penalty to other Chinese factions via cultural aversion (common northern trait)
    -greatest emphasis on adopting barbarian elements, ie cavalry and mercenary units
    -Unique Unit: some form of horse archers? the Zhao readily adopted cavalry feature of the northern nomads, including horse archery

    The state of Qi, being situated in modern Shandong, can be designed as the typical defensive faction thanks to it's defensive position on the coast; like Qin, this would give players a rather easier start in the campaign as you're not concerned with being attacked from the east since you're next to the sea. I also envision Qi having an economic edge relative to other states, being the steamrolling powerhouse type of faction that relies on economic power rather than aggressive early expansion.

    -moderate size
    -economy faction; utilize commerce and trade to offset initial military disadvantages
    -trade links to non-Chinese entities (ie trade nodes to places like Japan and Korea)
    -most conservative of Chinese factions- hard to acquire nomadic elements, utilzies Chinese units liek chariots and spearmen much more
    -cultural affinity with Chinese
    -least emphasis on adopting barbarian elements ie cavalry, mercenaries
    -increased research rate
    -unique unit: bullet crossbowmen; there is archeological evidence of crossbows designed to fire clay or stone bullets as an alternative to bolts, and while less effective in conventional battles, are more suitble for low-scale warfare, ie ambushes and raiding. A unit with such weapons could be the Chinese variant of Kisho Ninja or Goblins, stealth and surprise being their main tactical advantage. The bullet crossbows can be recruited among multiple factions, the Qi variant are more resilient in melee, producing a potentially powerful combination of footsoldier that can fight with sword and missiles.

    I suppose Qi could be comparable to Rome2's Carthage, or Warhamer's Dwarfs, where economy is critical element to a successful campaign. Qi-specific military details are sparse in the few books I can find on the subject. One would have to start making stuff up or extrapolating a lot from other related sources to come up with an interesting faction design that's still remotely historically plausible.

    -Yan is the northernmost and easternmost Chinese state of the seven, and given the geography of its location I envision it's playstyle to revolve around chariots, archers and cavalry, a mix of northern and Chinese plains design. Similar to Zhao, nomadic enemies to the north are going to be your constant threat, but unlike Zhao, there is greater scope of diplomacy, so playing as Yan you are more able to leverage barbarians as allies more so than fighting them- Yan is described in on book as trading with Manchurian and Korean polities. In any event, their placement to the upper left corner of the campaign map means an enterprising player can swiftly concentrate expansion up there to consolidate their position.
    Being both northern and plains in unit design I think a unique character of Yan would be greatest use of chariots among the northern states, and like Qi, the coast provides economic benefits. This gives Yan and Qi a sort of miniature commercial rivalry as both major factions will be vying for control of trade nodes and such.

    -NPC factions: Because having just seven factions in the map will be really boring, there ought to be a much alrger number of minor factions serving as buffers or providing numerous distractions for the bigger states to fight with or against. Some will be clone copies of the Chinese states- there will be larger minor states like Zhen, Song and Lu that form major obstacles between some of the major factions, while smaller states like Ba, Shu and Wu are targets for vassals or persistent thorns in the side of powerhourses.
    In addition non-Chinese NPC factions like the various nomads of the north, tribesmen of the south, and even Koreans on the eastern edge of the map can provide additional diversity to the campaign experience: the Chinese states will initially have limited access to cavalry units, and can be overcome by the use of nomadic mercenaries, vassals, or technological acquisition through conquest. Southern tribesmen make for excellent light infantry mercenaries and shock troops.
    Koreans in the form of Gojoseon is a difficult subject, because their homebase is very far off to the east, you'd have to add a huge sea portion just to accommodate a few coastline home settlements. I'm thinking the approach for Koreans is rather a small presence in the sliver of northeastern coastline next to Yan, and their portrayal largely in the form of naval attacks (if at war) or trade (if at peace). Through trade war and even allied navies, Koreans can provide a naval element to the game by being able to buy mercenaries, convince or coerce them to attack enemy factions' ports, or force them off the map early on for initial territorial gains.
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 20
    Unit Design

    A major problem in my view of designing a strategy game around Warring States period is that, unlike later periods, none of the iconic Chinese elements of warfare existed back then. You didn't have cool rockets or cannons or even repeating crossbows, practically everything was still bronze, despite centuries of knowledge into iron technology, and much of the military knowledge we know of the period have little to do with what soldiers looked like or fought but rather how the political narratives played out.
    The best way to deal with this is to merely find plausible extrapolations, and a bit of reasonable imagination, to come up with unit designs that not only suit the period, but diverse enough that some factions can boast some unique flavour from others; not an easy task given that it's hard enough to even come up with a roster for everyone, let alone one that is interesting for players.
    What exacerbates the problem further is that, in order to make for a good sandbox campaign, you actually have to push the game date further back so that factions are in their infantry rather than in their prime, but which makes prospective unit rosters appear even more primitive. A double-edged sword because while it makes for a larger roster where units go from primitive bronze units to more sophisticated iron weapons, that's even less likely to appeal to players via coolness factor, unless you really want a game where chariots were the tactical equivalent to tanks and that cavalry is largely unheard of.

    Having said that, here's a compilation of units that might fit the bill of historically authentic yet practical for a strategy game:

    Dagger axe units: there's an interestingly large variety of dagger-axe heads uncovered from that period; the early "axe-only" variants, lacking a spearpoint called a "Ge", were early Shang weapons ranging from handheld to polearms; the more iconic "ji", often translated as "halberd", were predominant in the game period, of which were merely ge weapons with the conventional spearhead. Later units can ditch the concept entirely and use typical spears, reflecting an increasingly greater emphasis of large mass, closed ranks formation combat that required a thrusting rather than chopping motions. For simplicity's sake, I'll refer to the latter as simply "halberds".

    -short spear/ axe-style units: dagger axes of relatively short polearm length, as well as short conventional spears of more primitive design are found in modern illustrations of Shang/ Zhou warriors. These can serve as basic militia units
    -middle-length spear units: typical spearmen with both dagger-axe or conventional spear variety, first effective infantry against cavalry units.
    -halberd infantry: the next evolution of spear infantry, this combines regular spears with the hooking capacity of dagger-axes; these can be designed similarly to MTW2's Billmen unit, being particularly effective against cavalry as well as armour piercing, at the cost of poorer armour.
    -pikemen: longer spears and abandoning the perpendicular blades make for increasingly potent defensive infantry, to be used much like pike in phalanx mode in Rome2

    Chariots: one major obstacle for this idea is that chariots are a very prominent element of early Chinese warfare, andthat in Total War, chariots were commonly designed and used like battering rams on steroids; you charge the unit straight into formations and have them run around wreaking havoc with their large hitboxes; Egyptian chariots in RTW are practically the iconic element of "cheese" for the series, and even in Warhammer, Chaos chariots exhibit the same behaviour.
    In both reality in general and Chinese warfare in particular, chariots did not behave in this way; they're used for their mobility to carry warriors close into fighting range, and retreat whenever necessary; having horses carrying you around is much better than running about with your legs, it also means you need not worry about personal loadout, as chariots manned by four horses can quite readily ferry a wooden platform with as many as four-five men riding in the cab. "Command" chariots, where the occupants were not going to be making the forces gallop about performing manouvres, were also more likely to be lavishly furnished with things like drums or sunshades since their roles weren't tactical combat but supporting the army behind the lines. While Chinese chariots are described as having features like scythes on the axles these are clearly designed as deterrents from counterattacks, not as an offensive damage multiplier.
    The good news is that chariots as a result would actually resemble much like real cavalry for the Chinese factions given their roles in combat, so while they are larger, inflexible and used more like faster skirmishers and support units, they still offer unique fighting capabilities that even cavalry units don't provide. A list of possible unit designs are as follows:

    -missile chariots: light to heavy chariots designed to accommodate varying amount of missile firepower; these offer no melee advantage and indeed will falter once caught anything that's not a light skirmishing unit. The variety of these units can rnge from small and cheap chariots with just one archer, to larger vehicles accommodating more archers per unit, providing more firepower despite a larger profile to be shot at by the enemy. Like all chariot unit types, missile chariots remain excellent pursuit vehicles, but like all chariot units terrain and massed formations are their primary limitations.
    -anti-cavalry chariots: this type of chariot unit features spearmen in the cab rather than archers, and are excellent at pursuit and attacking other chariots; however like all chariots they are still unsuitable for rough terrain and against massed formations.
    - mixed chariots: a subtype that blends the capabilities of missile and melee, featuring spearmen as well as archer in the cab. As a result this type is more expensive but more versatile in the aforementioned roles.
    - supporting chariots: these units are not designed to engage in combat, but rather exist to provide buffs to their army's units. Chariots with drums and flags, or the general riding in the chariot, are examples of such units. They are slow and poor in combat, but make up for it with large auras and featuring better armour.
    - crossbow chariots: lacking the damage and range of archer chariots, this variant instead offers increased rate of fire, offering steady volume of projectiles. This could be a unique unit among some factions, given the idea's historically unsupported nature.
    - artillery chariots: chariots with simply a driver who also needs to stop to man the large crossbow installed onto the cab, making this unit require the tactical drawback of not moving in order to fire. I imagine two subvariants, one where the crossbow is fixed facing the front, limiting tactical flexibility, and one which a rotating crossbow "turret" as a unique, elite unit. While large "siege" varieties of crossbows were made during this time, having them in chariots is entirely conjectural. These units trade rate of fire and tactical flexibility for increased range and armour piercing damage, operating similarly like field artillery in previous TW games.

    Artillery weapons: there were obviously no gunpowder or even incendiary weapons used during this era, and any heavy weapons would involve upscaled missile projectors; there were no torsion-based weapons either (ie catapults), the closest we have would be large crossbows mounted on fixed or wheeled frames, sometimes with two or three bowstaves to produce more power to throw the heavier bolts. The very limited references I can find on ancient Chinese artillery seems to be due to the fact that massed ranks of crossbowmen are more practical and flexible in both field battles and in siege battlements, so much of the ideas would have to be borderline fictional; the good news is that any made-up units can utilize more common or iconic names to make them easy to identify.

    - Siege crossbow: also sometimes described as a "triple crossbow" due to three bowstaves, this is merely a gigantic crossbow firing giant bolts; subvariants can be one that fires multiple projectiles at once, and if you want to stretch the imagination, a giant version of bullet crossbows firing stone projectiles
    - Traction mangonels: there are ancient illustrations very close to the period of what seems to be a trebuchet where at least four men pull on ropes to generate power for the throwing arm; Shogun2 features a near-identical unit, though in that game it's practical use was very limited due to gunpowder weapons; this unit can be the game's "mortar", it's primary feature being able to fire projectiles in a higher arc than other weapons.

    Missile infantry: another iconic element of ancient Chinese warfare are infantry armed with crossbows: by the Warring States period proper, they were practically used everywhere and in large numbers. There can be a wide range of unit variants with differing levels of quality in regards to rate of fire, range, (in)ability to fight in melee, and armour.

    -Crossbow militia: basic low-level crossbowmen in the early game, leveraging manpower and low cost to players to field suitable numbers of units for volume of fire.
    -Crossbow levies: a nominal step up of militia, slightly superior in nearly all areas; the most common variety of crossbow infantry in the game.
    -Elite variants: some factions may boast unique versions of crossbowmen such as Qin Palace Guards, featuring good armour and equal match for regular melee infantry, while also boasting the best crossbow firepower available to infantry units. Another variant could be something like larger crossbows, firing deadlier projectiles but even poorer melee staying power.
    -Bullet Crossbowmen: a variety of crossbow that trades firepower and range for stealth, suitable for unconventional factions that may revolve more around subterfuge
    -Bow infantry: to provide an in-game contrast, infantry using bows would have unique properties compared with crossbows, such as having greater quality units in melee, ability to shoot from concealed positions without being exposed, ability to fire projectiles at a higher trajectory, and greater rate of fire. Similar to Shogun2, elite archers may have smaller unit sizes, but are more capable in melee and fire more accurate missiles. Non-Chinese factions like the southern tribes and northern nomads would feature more bows rather crossbows for their mainstay ranged units.

    Missile cavalry: obviously a distinctive element of nomadic factions, horse archers can eventually be acquired by Chinese factions, allowing them to supplement or replace chariot units. For sake of game balance the majority of ranged missile cavalry would be poor in a melee fight, but excellent in pursuit, harass and flanking of the enemy.

    -Bow Cavalry: typical missile cavalry unit, like foot counterparts are more accurate than crossbows and can fire arrows at an arc, and much better accuracy when firing on the move. Elite armoured variants such as generals' bodyguards are more resilient from attacks, but also move slower and are expensive. The northern Chinese states adopted mounted warfare quite early on, and their success compared with chariots practically eclipsed the initial disdain towards using barbarian methods of war. Qin artifacts include some pretty detailed chariot items, though they are presumed to be retained largely for ceremonial or support functions by the time the Qin dynasty was established.
    -Mounted Crossbowmen: there is scant reference of crossbow technology advanced enough that riders can wield them without needing to dismount. While offer greater unit size and volume of fire, this unit's ranged firepower is inferior to mounted archers unless firing in larger formations.
    -Mounted Skirmishers: the earliest Chinese adopters of cavalry seemed reluctant to use cavalry as mainstay, so peasants and nomadic mercenaries were apparently the first riders of cavalry in Chinese armies. These light cavalry could function as scouts, pursuers or otherwise light support for armies, using javelins and speed as their tactical edge.

    Swords were common by the this time period in China, but usage was limited to the short variety as spears and missiles negated any lengthened blade designs, and their much larger usage of metal more or less makes them limited to that of aristocrats and elite guardsmen. Long swords have been unearthed dating to Qin period, it is possible they were more popular later on as resources were more readily available.

    Sword infantry: a number of illustrations in the Osprey book depicts some unique types of warriors that factions can use. --Short-handled dagger-axes lacking spear points, appear to be basic weapons with minimum amount of bronze metal, affixed to short handles,their usage appears to be similar to warhammers, suitable to punching through wooden shields. Non-Chinese units (in the Osprey book, a "Tien" (likely of the Dian Kingdom) warrior from the Sichuan region, south of Qin and west of Chu), feature a weapon looking more like an early battle axe similar in appearance to early Egyptian axes, but with a flared head like that of modern tomahawk designs.
    -short swords: their appearance is described much like the Roman gladius, short thrusting swords with wide double edged blade and short tapering tip, with rounded guards with two rings in the handle for better grip; sword and shield units could be an elite infantry unit, able to ward off missile attacks and counter any other infantry in melee.
    -long swords were a later evolution, narrower and longer taper, used by both cavalry and infantrymen, though their usage seemed limited to the former because of longer spears and inability to wield in larger formations. Infantry with long swords and shield can be an upper-tier elite unit, but featuring smaller numbers per unit, boasting excellent melee stats but slow and vulnerable to missiles.

    -Melee cavalry: There seems to be little information regarding what cavalry wield during this time, but the good ews is that it's open to many speculative unit designs.

    -Pike cavalry: cavalry using long halberd spears are excellent anti-cavalry/ chariot units, but poor melee power when fighting infantry
    -sword cavalry: excellent melee troops with the benefit of speed
    -short-polarm cavalry: shorter spears means they are more versatile compared to other cavalry types
    -dagger-axe cavalry: early version of sword cavalry
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 22
    Culture differentiation

    I'd organize the "Race" categories of factions by three: Nomads (northern barbarians) Tribesmen (southern barbarians) and Chinese. There were historically other subcategories but they seem to lack any meaningful differentiation suitable for the game, so it is better off to simply put them in one of the three major groups.

    Cultural mechanics: I envision two possible ways to simulate cultural exchange between factions of different races, the old MTW2 Kingdoms: Britannia style, and the more modern usual culture/ religion mechanics used in Rome2 and Attila.

    MTW2 system: Similar to Rome2's system, culture works like religion mechanics in most TW games: percentage of a settlement can be converted to other cultures, and results in certain modifiers like increased/ decreased public order.
    The unique MTW2 system allowed progressive unlocks for special unis to be recruited based on culture: for example, a settlement with 80% nomadic culture allows armies to recruit various types of nomadic units, ie horse archers; raising it higher to 90% unlocks better variants, whereas if it falls to 70% you lose the ability to recruit certain units. Players with settlements of certain culture percentages are thus given more diverse options to recruit certain units.
    Percentage of certain cultures may have an influence on public order, much like how previous TW titles work, and some factions have bonuses towards certain cultures to mitigate some of the negative effects; northern Chinese factions, for example, have bonuses that negate some of the nomadic culture penalties that other Chinese factions do not. Character traits, retinue, commandments and variety of other ideas can also contribute to players being able to expand and control territories of other cultures without crushing penalties.
    A variant of this idea I wish to make is for a faction to integrate some cultural elements into the faction permanently, with bonuses and drawbacks like increased access to foreign units and features, reduced culture penalties, but with the penalty of diplomatic relations with other factions; a sort of progressive versus conservatism element in the game that challenges players to consider adopting certain game elements normally not available to them, at the expense of other game elements that may have been taken for granted. This simulates the dilemma of a Chinese state adopting nomadic or other barbarian elements for benefit of survival, versus preserving tradition. Shogun2's Fall of the Samurai feature a similar mechanic, though it was largely linear and the benefits of choosing to progress to better technology considerably lopsided: for this game I envision a more pragmatic and balanced approach where the decision to not adapt would have largely tactical limitations: nomads won't do well in the southern forests, and chariots won't perform well in hilly terrain.
    Another element of this mechanic are there being multiple ways to get around these kinds limitations, with their own set of benefits and penalties: adopting nomadic elements is a permanent and wider scale solution for a Chinese state, but workarounds involve simply hiring foreign mercenaries: should I adopt nomadic culture and be free to produce as many horse archers I want at low cost, or imply hire the few horse archers I can find at higher cost and remain friends with other Chinese factions?

    Cultural Integration: this mechanic is similar to technology and Shogun2 Fall of the Samurai's Modernization mechanic: as a faction acquires certain technologies and makes certain decisions, foreign elements are permanent adopted into that faction's gameplay design, ie new structures and new units are now accessible. Some elements can be adopted and discarded for some penalties, and others can only be adopted permanently. Depending on what is being adopted, there will be a variety of bonuses and penalties associated with the decision, such as increased or decreased cultural penalties with public order and diplomacy, army morale (temporary or permanent), effects on general loyalty and unit stats.

    Prospective examples:
    Adopting light nomadic cavalry: unlocks basic cavalry units, cost of chariot units increased
    Adopting medium nomadic cavalry: unlocks medium cavalry units, increased cost of chariots, light chariots no longer accessible
    Adopting heavy nomadic cavalry: unlocks heavy cavalry, further increased cost of chariots, medium chariots no longer available, all cavalry costs slightly cheaper
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 31
    Wall mechanics:

    Introduction: Before the Great Wall, there is considerable evidence of the Chinese states having built walls in various areas in their territory; the most famous and developed are found in the north, and in some places fetured parallel walls. Walls therefore played a role in how the Chinese fought both eachother and the nomadic peoples during the Warring States period.
    To produce a mechanic similar to how walls worked, I'm utilizing two similar mechanics from previous games: building construction using up slots, and movement penalties.

    How walls work: the simplest, TW-related idea I can come up with that's remotely historically authentic, is that walls function much like building walls for settlements n Warhammer: you select a slot in your settlement panel and you decide to build walls via the Defensive chain of buildings. Unlike Warhammer, building of these walls not only provide the settlement with walls, but produces a barrier along the entirety of that province- no region, but the boundary of that entire province. This means that walls will only ever continuously cover and enclose once you have control of that province.
    Instead of providing a permanent barrier like a mountain, this barrier merely serves like a river crossing: in order for enemy armies to cross they must expend more movement points to cross over; higher wall tiers raise the movement point penalty as well as inflict attrition penalties. Armies can counteract this by devoting skill points and technologies to overcome these barriers, but in general walls will be effective in strategically deterring armies from attacking in particular directions.
    Contrary to its effect on enemy armies, these walls do not affect your own or friendly armies, allowing the owners of the walls a considerable advantage in choosing where to attack or defend a region.
    Armies placed on friendly walls will have greater zone of control, allowing interception of nearby enemy armies.
    Upgrading the wall building through multiple tiers bring a number of bonuses, such as stronger walls in battle mode, increased movement penalties and/or attrition, and greater bonus garrison units during a battle.
    Wall battles:

    -Attacking and defending in battlemap where the armies are featured on wall tiles will work differently than the usual set-piece battle.
    -If the defending army is on their own wall tile, the battle will be fought much like that of a siege: the battle map will simply consist of a modified battlefield of that tile, with the addition of walls and towers running across the entirety of the map; the defender must tactically place whatever troops are available, and multiple gates can be accessed, similar to river battles in previous TW titles.
    -Depending on the tier of the defensive building, walls will vary in quality, with the first levels being merely rammed earth and wooden watchtowers, the higher tiers featuring stone walls and fortified gates.
    -Unlike siege battles, enemy troops can scale walls without the need for siege equipment, similar to that of Shogun2. Defending walls therefore is not always easier than withdrawing and attempting a field or siege battle.
    -Gates can also be burned down, allowing the enemy to attempt to flank or outmanoeuvre the defenders, especially if multiple gates located at opposite ends of the map are breached. Higher tier gates will take much longer to burn down, requiring either advanced technologies like artillery, or alternative tactics to overcome.
    -If you attack an enemy army that is occupying your wall tile, the battle will be a regular field battle; however, enemy armies cannot retreat across the walls, and must fight and risk destruction.
    -"Terminus battles"- battles that occur at the end of a region's wall- will feature similarly like wall battles; the battle will be regular, but a portion of the wall and it's terminating tower will be present in the battle map, presenting tactical obstructions for manoeuvres; control of the terminal tower, for example, allows the controlling army greater field of view, removing fog of war in a large radius. When two armies are close to a terminal tower, the one who controls the tower's field of view may have significant advantage as they know where the enemy's units are positioned; the other army however does not.
    -Walls are easy and cheap to repair, and their damaged state does not obstruct movement in the campaign map; however in the battle map tiles with damaged walls will have breaches, allowing for additional chokepoint features; repairing the wall building will repair all breaches in that region. Damaged wall tiles in the campaign will be marched by burning walls, identifying locations where the walls are damaged and indicating players where they can fight more easily.


    Defensive features for walls

    Utilizing an idea I came up with some time ago, walls can also have their own sub-slots that are pre-allocated for various additional features; a wall can be augmented to have things like strogner walls, ditches, supply depots, and stakes to add versatility to their defensive abilities. Regions can also have their own combination of upgrades, meaning a whole province's walls can be different according to the region; one region's walls can have different features than the walls of an adjacent region.

    Walls have four pre-allocated slots, for simplicity's sake I will give them categorical names; you can only build one option per slot, and each option only affects the local region

    One: HQ, the basic "main building" slot that decides general defensive functions of the local region as well as the level of the walls.
    This building chain contains most of the settlement's defensive features, including bonuses to units fighting in the local region.

    Two: Passive Defenses, features static upgrades such as strengthened walls
    Three: Active Defenses, upgrades that allow augmenting units in battle mode
    Four: Support, upgrades grant indirect bonuses

    One: Garrison Headquarters: this is the structure represented in the settlement panel; it decides the tier of available upgrades among other things.
    Upgrades include:
    -More upkeep slots for garrisons (see Upkeep Slots idea)
    -Armoury: armour bonus to units
    -Bronze Forge: weapon bonus
    -Training Camp: improves stamina
    Other ideas: unlike the following upgrades, these ideas stack with other HQ buildings in the province's other regions.

    Two: Passive
    -Trench (anti-infantry) the walls will feature trenches; attacking forces gain speed penalties when approaching walls, making them more vulnerable to attack
    -Sharpened stakes (anti-cavalry) units take damage when scaling walls; cavalry units attempting to move past these will take significant damage
    -Reinforced walls (anti missiles) more durable against artillery; the walls are invulnerable to all flame-based attacks

    Three: Active
    -Braziers (infantry) all units in the battle can use special fire attacks: non-missile units can throw basic short-ranged torches, while missile units can fire flaming projectiles at regular range
    -Materiel caches (missiles) all ammunition units gain a bonus to ammunition capacity
    -Artillery towers (artillery) longer range, can attack (most?) siege equipment

    Four: Support
    Reinforced Gates- gates invulnerable to fire attacks, take longer to destroy by artillery
    Training Camps- replenishment bonuses to armies positioned at walls
    Watchtowers- improved line of sight, detection of agents in local region
    Roads- improved movement speed, trade of local region
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  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 8,217Registered Users
    Please no campaign that takes place during the Warring States period, that would just be Shogun2 again with little to no variety and no replayability. As a mini-campaign maybe, but a China focused Grand Campaign should definitely take place in a period where the map's more "colourful" (as already suggested, Song, Ming and Qing would be suitable the most for this).

  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    The biggest problem with Warring States is that in reality it was the climax and closing of an era before the Qin takes over all of the states; even if you try to stretch the period as far as 400BC it's still going to be more bland than Shogun2, where the era features many more clans facing eachother off. Worse, you're right, there are no innovative tech like firearms to offer "gamechanging" alternative playstyles.
    You'd have to like make it superbroad and watered down to Rome2 levels if you want to try to feature big and diverse unit rosters. But really, the best way to do a Warring States game for TW is to go even further back in time so that more states are featured, and get even more liberal with historical interpretation- iron wasn't even prevalent in this time frame, so it's certainly a Bronze Age game you'd be playing.

    That said, anyone that liked Shogun2 is likely going to like a Warring States period game, but that's stretching the limits due to unit design limitations.

    A later period featuring more interesting stuff is more likely going to work where Warring States servers merely as additional DLC campaign. This kind of worked for Shogun2; Rise of the Samurai was relaly just same campaign and even same basic gameplay but featuring earlier units, though IMO almost too much of the game was identical to the vanilla campaign.

    THat said I actually don't think periods like Ming and Qing would be more "colourful" given the historical context. Ironically the more iconic Three Kingdoms period for all it's fame would be the worst option due to the same technological constraints of the period of Warring States, AND lacking the faction variety of later dynasties.
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  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 8,217Registered Users
    Ming and Qing would absolutely be the most varied. The Ming start by driving the Mongol Yuan out and then they can potentially go and visit the rest of the world with their Treasure Ship fleet. Qing China is where the quarrels with the West started in earnest, Opium Wars, Taiping uprising, Boxer Movement the whole shebang. Three Kingdoms has been done to death by RotK and Dynasty Warriors and a campaign that goes even further back before the Warring States would offer only more primitive warfare with less interesting tactics and units.

  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users

    Ming and Qing would absolutely be the most varied. The Ming start by driving the Mongol Yuan out and then they can potentially go and visit the rest of the world with their Treasure Ship fleet. Qing China is where the quarrels with the West started in earnest, Opium Wars, Taiping uprising, Boxer Movement the whole shebang. Three Kingdoms has been done to death by RotK and Dynasty Warriors and a campaign that goes even further back before the Warring States would offer only more primitive warfare with less interesting tactics and units.

    Then that's just Empire 2. And boy that's like asking for Rome3, and by Rome3 I mean Rome2 but just as bad.
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 26
    Minor factions:

    In order to make this idea remotely interesting, there certainly needs to be more than a mere seven states battling eachother; hence my idea of starting the campaign at a much earlier period, allowing the states to flourish from their initial beginnings by way of the player making actions in a large varied sandbox game. These minor factions need to be reasonably equal in size and strength to the playable factions, otherwise they serve merely as temporary obstructions for the seven states.
    To incorporate some more iconic names from this period, I'm going to utilize the name-change confederation mechanic found in Rome2.

    Below is a rough idea of how minor factions are designed:

    Central Chinese factions: a number of NPC factions that are identical in some level to the playing factions; they are analogues of the Wei, Han and Qi factions

    Wey (in between Zhao, Wei, and Qi)
    Lu (south of Qi, north of Song)
    Zheng (east of Han, north of Chu)
    Song (south of Qi, north of Chen)
    Chen (south of Song, north of Cai and Chu)
    Cai (north of Chu, south of Chen and Zheng)
    Cao (north of Song, south of Wey)
    Xue (east of Song)
    Zhou: the royal dynasty that merely acts as a passive faction and functioning similarly like Ashikaga Shogunate in Shogun2 and/or the Vatican in MTW2
    Jin: unplayable passive faction that functions like the Roman senate in RTW for the three playable factions Han, Wei and Zhao.

    Nomadic factions: all non-Chinese factions north of Chu are called nomadic factions: they largely utilize cavalry and some even serve as horde factions, roaming around the north fighting or trading with nearby contacts. They serve as the primary source of trade, mercenaries and war with the three northern Chinese states.
    Some of the prospecive factions are listed, followed by the closest historical analogues I could find:

    Two subcategories of nomadic factions are the Rong (northwestern) and Di (northeastern). For simplicity's sake, some names are shortened (ie Beirong to just Bei) and some historical names omitted to prevent name confusion. This includes omitting names with short or monosyllabic names, being easier to identify as none of the Chinese factions

    Rong tribes:
    Luhun
    Yangju
    Quangao
    Yiluo

    Di tribes:
    Liuxu
    Duochen
    Gaoluo
    Sushen

    Confederations: When nomadic factons confederate, they can change their names to any the following
    Xiongnu (if one confederation takes over another confederation?)
    Xianyun
    Xunyu
    Xianyu (Di tribes)
    Xirong (Rong tribes)

    Southern Tribes: These factions are south of China and the nomadic factions, and the major faction of Chu features as a hybrid of this culture type

    Dian (could be a shadow faction of Chu? ie if the region rebels)
    Shu
    Ba
    Wu (identical in design as Chu and starts off at war with them)
    Yue (name changed to Baiyue when it confederates with other factions)
    Dongyue
    Nanyue

    Note: there's also quite a number of more seemingly intersting names of people found in various maps, but using different Romanization so it is diffult to track what they translate to: for example in one Google map, there
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 25
    Ideas on campaign mechanics:


    Expeditions (ie MTW2's Crusade/Jihad/Warpath):
    After meeting some certain criteria, an army can be selected to go on an Expedition, granting it a variety of bonuses, conditions and penalties, depending on specific faction design and such. This simulates the many large incursions of both Chinese and non-Chinese armies attacking in certain directions.
    At first I thought of this merely being a clone of toggling an army to go on Crusade, but I also figured it can tie in with the War Coordination Target mechanic found in more recent titles, where certain overlord factions like Jin and the Zhou dynasty could designated specific targets, and basically starts a race where factions attempt to achieve them before others can for some benefits. If the player can assign such targets themselves, then it can offer a way for some armies and their generals to gain more experience or attain special bonuses, while still in a race against other factions, friend or foe.
    For example if you have no allies, and designated a target settlement for Expedition, you may oft to have some of your lesser generals take over the settlement for to catch up with your more experienced armies; if however your experienced armies have poorer loyalty they may suffer morale penalties for a period of time; moreover, lesser generals have a reduced timetable to achieve the expedition so you cannot abuse the system to "twink" your generals, and if any other factions take over the settlement the Expedition is cancelled, causing a host of penalties to the crusading general and faction overall.
    The idea of expeditions is to allow temporary narratives to arise in a campaign, and offer a twist in challenges to the player. Expeditions are not going to be plentiful, and any expedition you create or receive should be chosen carefully for optimal camping progression.
    All factions in the game, both playable and minor, can utilize this mechanic, and variants according to culture can be made so that nomadic versions function slightly differently than Chinese/ tribsemen expeditions; for example, nomadic expeditions rely much more movement and aggression, and can even copy some other mechanics like Greenskins' Fightiness metre, where success or failure will be gauged and various effects will result on the army and faction.
    Unique units (refer to Crusader units from MTW2) can also be utilized either during the expedition, or even as a temporary effect after it has ended, allowing opportunity to recruit some special units. Tribesmen expeditions for instance can recruit some unique shock infantry for better performance when besieging settlements or engaging spearmen (specifically there is mention during this period of Wu "suicide fighters", presumably a sort of Forlorn Hope infantry great in attack but poor in defense)

    Prestige (ie Rome2's imperium)
    Unlike Imperium/ Realm Divide in previous TW titles, prestige is present only for certain factions, such as the central Chinese states, and only inflicts penalties to other Chinese factions; it conversely raises your diplomatic relationship with non-Chinese factions. The result is that, while you'll become more likely to war with certain factions, you are also LESS likely to go to war with others. The idea here is to utilize diplomacy and politics to maximize ability to fight certain factions at a time, rather than being forced to fight all factions uniting together.

    Some factions can utilize the mechanic differently;
    Han for example could have a double Imperium meter, featuring prestige to the Jin overlord faction, and the Zhou royal dynasty that it surrounds. Han therefore plays very differently than other major factions, and with two gauges allows for a much greater multitude of benefits and special bonuses normally not available to other factions. It can even be designed where a Fall of the Samurai style Realm Divide occurs where Han at some point must choose to exclusively support the Jin, support the Zhou, or go independent. Whichever choice you make, the metre for the faction you abandon will then lock out to zero, and disappears once that faction is gone- so if you rebel against Jin, you gain certain penalties until they are destroyed, leaving you with the benefits of the other metre. Going independent merely applies to both metres, and once both are gone you are given a set of permanent bonuses that help you expand and take over the rest of the map.

    An idea for the Chu faction is that it has an imperium metre but it works more like the War Weariness mechanic found in Attila's Age of Charlemagne campaign: the longer you are at war with factions, the more tired and demoralized your people are, but unlike that mechanic, every victory you temporarily achieve erases the penalties, so in effect you never are penalized by the mechanic as long as you are fighting battles and expanding, encouraging you to keep going, though at the risk of overextension. Whether you decide to suck up the penalties and consolidate your position for a while, or go all in and try to rush some victories before enemies can react, is up to the player.


    Faction Hybridizing (ie Fall of the Samurai's Modernization)
    Like in FotS, integrating non-Chinese elements is both key to success and practically the optimal way to play the game, it is a matter of what you integrate first and ability to put it to maximum effect that is the greatest importance; as any Chinese faction you will be faced with the need to "modernize" and incorporate elements to your technology, unit roster and character skills, while at the same time negotiating with various penalties that come with it.
    All factions in the game can hybridize, and some can start the game with permanent bonuses to integrating culture, or even start the game having already achieved some: Chu for example starts the game playing much more like the southern Tribesmen more than central Chinese, which sport features like better chariots, while Zhao starts the game already with access to early cavalry units.
    Unlike FotS's Modernization, where the design is largely linear (traditional to modern) there are three separate cultures in the game, and any faction can choose the other two elements depending on what needs integrating first: for a faction like Qin, integrating nomadic elements allows specific benefits like cavalry, while integrating tribesmen allow for better melee infantry; because you cannot quickly integrate both at once the strategy for any player is to decide which suits the situation, especially if you attempt an unorthodox progression like expanding southwards quickly instead of northward.
    The majority of the bonuses will involve tactical advantages, ie a nomadic faction integrating Chinese will be able to use more and better chariots, giving them a better time in certain map terrain; likewise, a Chinese faction integrating tribesmen will be able to utilize more melee infantry, which means better able to face the armies of the southern minor factions at equal footing.
    The general purpose I have for hybridization is that of providing a variety of ways for a single faction to be played, which in itself increases replay value.


    Tech capture (ie MTW2's Apachean cavalry/ firearms)
    In MTW2 Kingdoms: America expansion campaign, the Apachean faction had the unique ability to acquire unique units by fighting European armies; if you kill enough of a certain type, the game triggered the ability to construct special buildings, whereby you were able to build cavalry and/or gunpowder units, giving the faction a very unique advantage when playing the campaign.
    Bowwing this idea, a simple variation for this game could be where if you kill/capture enough of a particular unit type, you gain the ability to recruit them like levies in the mercenary recruitment panel.
    Example: You play as Chu and the faction does not have any starting cavalry units; attacking and defeating an army's cavalry units from Qin several times allows for you the opportunity to temporarily recruit cavalry units as if they were your levies. You then gain the small bonus of accessing cvalry units, without having to rely on allied levies, expensive mercenaries, or the progressive cultural integration scheme. Unlike the usual levy recruitment which requires a vassal or ally, this ability is available either locally (ie the region where the battle occurred), or even limited to army that fought that battle.
    To prevent steamrolling, I am thinking of this feature as not requiring you to win the battle, or even require a high casualty rate to unlock.
    Another variation to this idea is that rather than serving to provide unit access, it instead provides buffs to various elements to the campaign, such as temporary improvement to that unit type in your control (ie defeating armies featuring cavalry units gives your own cavalry units a temporary buff), or related bonuses to your army on the campaign map (ie defeating cavalry units gives your armies a temporary movement point bonus). The effects may even vary depending on the faction you play as, so buffs to cavalry units can be used when playing as Qin, but playing as Chu the movement range is used instead.
    The feature could also be used via the Post-Battle panel, where players choose whether to release, ransom or kill prisoners after fighting a battle.
    Other variation ideas include:
    -bonuses to technology advancement (defeating cavalry gives bonus to cavalry-related tech research)
    -bonuses to the unit hardcounter (defeating cavalry gives bonuses to your spearmen)
    -bonuses to the same unit type (defeating cavalry buffs your own cavalry)
    -fear penalties to enemy armies you fight (defeating cavalry gives enemy cavalry units a morale penalty)
    -reduced costs to regular, levy and/or mercenary units of the same type (defeating cavalry gives mercenary cavalry a discount to recruitment or upkeep)
    -temporary free upkeep for the same unit type, automatically applied to most expensive and scales according to the casualty rate inflicted (ie every one hundred cavalry units you kill in a battle, grants 1 turn free upkeep for your own cavalry units, starting with the most expensive ones)
    -entire army gain increased effectiveness against that unit type for 1 turn or more (defeating cavalry units allows all unis in that army 1 turn bonus damage, defence against enemy cavalry units)
    -increased replenishment of the same unit type (simulating prisoner impressment; defeating cavalry units allow your own cavalry units to replenish faster for 1-2 turns)
    Post edited by daelin4 on
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 28
    Character development (levelling up, skills, traits)

    Based on some further reading the way the Zhou handled feudalism and subsequent kingdoms can be put into a game like so:

    -three distinct types of nobility/ office system, according to culture (nomadic, Chinese, tribesmen) with subtle differences
    -Interacts with other mechanics like Offices
    -also function as traits (ie a faction leader being Duke has better stats than if he was Baron)
    -act as "multiplier" to other traits, will expand on this idea later

    -Faction leader progression: titles only for faction leader
    -regular general progression: titles for regular generals
    -captain progression: titles for captains

    Faction Leader progression: Acquiring certain level as faction leader grants him certain titles, which give unique rewards from regular generals. Players will deal with the dilemma of utilizing the faction leader for war or governance, and which gives different rewards.
    The following are ranks by which the faction leader and heir (if applicable) will achieve feudal ranks:

    Faction leader titles (5 ranks); every five levels gains a rank
    Duke- highest normal rank
    Marquess-
    Earl-
    Count-
    Baron- placeholder, default rank

    Below are ranks for the faction leader after special events occur
    Hegemon- granted by Zhou king; maybe have the Papal Elections mechanic work similarly?
    King- this title can be claimed once you reach certain thresholds (ie imperium); some factions such as Han/ Wei/ Zhao will trigger war with the Zhou faction; other factions will simply sever certain relations
    Emperor- first faction to overthrow Zhou as well as take over the region; if another faction takes over, can also claim the title and compete

    Regular general titles (5 ranks): every five levels gains a rank
    Prefect
    Supervisor
    Judge advocate
    Commandant
    Regular (placeholder, default rank)

    Captain ranks (2-3 ranks): third rank allows for adoption to general, but incurs penalties like loyalty to other characters; bonuses from these ranks can be low, but can be multiplied if the captain is upgraded to general making him more suitable (or less) for promotion than new generals. Captains are leaders of settlement garrisons

    Shi
    Captain (placeholder, default rank)

    Culture differences:
    Nomadic/ Tribesmen version: replace names, effects with appropriate equivalents. Identical levelling method, but different thresholds? IE every three levels gain a rank instead of five, etc.

    Nomadic: Faction leader titles work a bit differently; confederation, for example, can only occur if the faction leader claims title of Shanyu, but unlike Chinese Emperor claimants, can peacefully co-exist with other Shanyu characters.

    Modifier Skills mechanic (MTW2's Authority/ Shogun2's Honour stat)
    Recall: in MTW2, faction leaders' loyalty stat is replaced with authority; the higher this stats, the more loyalty all generals will have. It unfortunately didn't have much effect as it is easily overshadowed by generals' particular loyalty traits.
    In Shogun2, Honour replaces daimyo (faction leader) loyalty stat and low Honour (1-2) incurs global penalties such as public order and loyalty; higher honour gives bonuses and allows players a greater buffer when committing actions.
    Idea of mechanic: title ranks effect the magnitude of stats, so that the higher title you gain, the greater a particular skill or trait's effects will be; thus a faction leader with rank of Duke will give all generals of lower level a bonus to loyalty; the lower the generals' level the greater the bonus. However, if the general has a higher level than faction leader, this instead turns to a penalty, and the higher the general is the greater the penalty relative to faction leader's title. For example, a general with highest rank (Prefect) will have a much greater loyalty penalty than generals of lower ranks, if the faction leader's title is still low as Baron.
    The purpose is for players to juggle between who should be levelled up first; levelling up faction leaders before generals is the most obvious choice, but if a general finds himself acquiring levels faster through battles and other accomplishments, the player may find themselves in the dilemma of whether to keep using the general to maintain progress, or hinder it by assigning a lower general or the faction leader.
    To facilitate this mechanic, changing armies' assigned generals may have penalties to prevent easily swapping generals around, similar to Bestial Rage in for Beastmen in Warhammer; the particular generals' army-wide skills and traits may also longer apply to the army once a general has been switched, which also discourages swapping of generals.
    Armies can also be tied to generals, so that swapping is either impossible, or very hefty penalties occur when switched. Ranks can also have an effect on this penalty; lower level generals will incur a little bit of penalty, but high level generals will incur a larger penalty, simulating generals' influence and armies' loyalty to their generals.

    Retainers
    In previous games retainers operated much like transferable traits, and only in some cases were their bonuses exceptionally unique.
    The purpose of this revamped retainer system is for them to have a much different and greater role in character development; they therefore act as the facilitators for the general's version of unit divergent upgrades: they offer different paths for generals to take, and these paths alter their role and function as fighting units.
    Depending on culture, characters in battle mode will be mounted, foot or on chariot.
    There are limited slots for retainers, allowing some level of versatility and ability to configure your generals to various different designs.
    Retainers may also open or limit certain skilltrees from being accessible, or instead serve to greatly improve their effectiveness; ie a cavalry-based retainer must be selected before certain cavalry-based skills can be unlocked; conversely, choosing a cavalry-based retainer may bolster the effects of all cavalry unis in your army.

    Faction Leader Retainer Ideas:
    - Nomadic Advisor: improves cultural integration
    - Southern Advisor
    - Chinese Advisor
    - Consort: improved inter-faction political effects
    - Bondservant: improved defense against hostile political actions

    General Retainer Ideas:
    - Turncoat Nomad: improved combat against nomadic units
    - Turncoat Tribesman
    - Turncoat Huaren
    - Mounted Squire: improved movement speed; allows general to become cavalry; nomadic generals become heavier cavalry
    - Chariot Driver: improved charge; allows general to become chariot; Chinese generals to better chariots
    - Crazed Swordmaster: improved melee attack; allows general to become sword infantry: Tribesmen generals gain infinite morale
    - Famed Youxia: improved melee attack; increases bodyguard unit size
    - Siege Engineer: improves missile, siege weapon range and accuracy
    Post edited by daelin4 on
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 28
    International Politics (diplomacy, Rome2 politics)

    Rome2's politics was largely intra-factional, you did not perform actions against particular factions, you merely generated Gravitas points to spend on political actions that enhanced your position against an invisible enemy that only existed to induce civil war in the future.
    This idea changes it to an international level; political actions now involve directly interacting with other factions in a manner outside of war and for the purpose of advancing your campaign progression. These actions will include things like convincing factions to start or stop a war against eachother, or persuade them to hate another faction, all for your benefit as you attempt to exploit these actions via armies in the campaign map. Classic diplomatic actions such as decalre war, offer gifts, also exist alongside these new options.
    Some intrigue ideas include the following:

    -Exacerbate Tensions: cause a faction to dislike another faction
    -Pressure Peace: cause a faction to make peace with another faction
    -Take sides: improve your standing with one faction, at the cost of another faction's relations
    -Discredit Fief: cause a target faction leader's stats to be reduced temporarily
    -Rouse Xenophobia: cause a target faction's settlements to gain a public order penalty based on culture percentage
    -Pressure War: cause a faction to declare war on another faction; you do not need to be at war with that faction
    -Sever Trade: if two factions are trading, attempt to cause a faction to break the trade agreement

    The ideal end result is that this level of interaction allows you to manipulate and exploit factions' relationships with eachother at a level never before in TW, so that you may be able to acquire your goals in a manner besides moving armies to attacking things and also expands diplomacy to beyond the usual offer trade rights and declaring war; these political intrigue actions may result in you being able to create new allies or enemies, making other factions friendly or hostile to eachother.

    Shadow faction politics
    A different dimension of the politics mechanic, this allows you to make deals with factions that do not exist in the map; this allows you effectively interact with factions that do not yet exist on the map, or has been destroyed.
    Action ideas include:

    -Harbour Exiles: improves your standing with this faction but reduces relations with their enemies; you can then choose a conquered settlement for them to claim, allowing them to come back on the map as your vassal. This means that you no longer have to rely on the Liberate mechanic, which requires the settlement to be that faction's last or home region.
    -Support Insurgency: if and when this shadow factions spawns a rebel army on the map, they will become your allies rather than enemies; you can then support them in battle to defeat the settlement; if you take over the settlement first they will Raid that region until destroyed, and you gain penalties for betraying them.
    -Offer Gifts: same as regular option, this allows you to raise standing with the dead faction at a financial cost
    -Promise Trade Rights: Offer trade rights to the dead faction once it claims a settlement; if no trade rights slots are available you are presented with the choice of cancelling a current one, or declining to fulfill on this promise, resulting in penalties.
    -Offer Concubines: Improves relations and grants them a growth bonus when they reclaim a settlement; your faction gains a slight penalty as a drawback; the option will be replaced with "Take back concubines" option, which reverses the action but incurs a penalty
    Post edited by daelin4 on
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    Army, unit design

    Divergent Unit Upgrades (Rome2's retraining)

    In Rome2, Retraining allows upgrading one obsolete unit to a more modern variant, allowing old units from the early game progress to mid-late game without being outclassed by newer, more powerful unlocked units. The upgrades however were usually 1 step, and always limited to same unit type.
    My idea is that units in this game can progress further and have more divergent paths; skirmishers and bowmen for example can be upgraded to different types of crossbows, and light chariots can be upgraded to heavier chariots, ignoring if they are missile or melee. The upgrade can be progressive; as higher unit levels are unlocked you can keep unlocking, but permanent and incremental; to upgrade a level 1 unit to level 5, you cannot skip levels 2-4, so cost of upgrade and which type is most suitable must be considered; you only have so many veterans to upgrade so the dilemma is which unit type to commit them to and hope the newer units will fill in your gaps as you expand your military.
    Purpose of the idea is to give your starting units much greater value in preserving, as their experience can be tremendously helpful once upgraded to some newer types and performing in new roles you want filled with veterans.
    To encourage preserving units, veterancy is preserved when upgrading, and training units will yield fewer bonuses than before (so no training level 9 units from scratch). As such, a unit that is upgraded progressively from lowest level, will always be more elite than the highest unlocked units due to retaining veterancy levels.

    Combined replenishing (Manual, automatic replenishment)
    Recall: a summary of how unit replenishment works in Total War titles:
    RTW: one unit at a time, requiring settlement able to train that unit
    MTW2: 1-3 slots used to replenish, requires settlement and able to train that unit
    Empire: can replenish anywhere, cost relative to the unit quality, number of men being "bought", requires two turns
    Shogun2: automatic, dependent on location; disabled in enemy regions; modifiers through skills, buildings
    Rome2 and Warhammer use the same feature as Shogun2
    The new idea on replenishment combines a few of the ideas from above.
    Replenishment is automatic like in previous titles, however it combines Empire's global replenishment feature, allowing your army the ability to replenish anywhere on the map; however it requires toggling a specific army stance, and you need to pay the cost of each lost unit's members; the cost is normally increased, and modifiers such as skills and global effects can reduce or increase the replenishment cost.
    The purpose pf the idea is to allow both replenishment abilities as options to the player; if an army is replenishing on its own in friendly territory but you require it to replenish faster, you may opt to toggle army stance and pay some money for certain units to replenish faster. This gives players the dilemma of saving money but requiring multiple turns, or spending more money to replenish units now.
    To balance the feature to prevent easy steamrolling, the mechanic may require something like distance modifiers for cost, such as if the army is far away, the cost for immediate replenishment becomes very high, and/ or requires multiple turns to accomplish, so that while the army does not require returning to home territory for replenishment, the cost and time can still be prohibitive. The toggle stance also requires side army to be stationary and sacrifice certain tactical advantages, a drawback that players prefer not to have and may be force to either redeploy in safer locations or press onward to secure regions.
    Number and quality of existing military buildings that can train said units may also have an effect on cost, so an elite unit will cost far more money to immediately replenish if you own only one barracks that could train that unit; the cost is reduced somewhat if you have another barracks of the same tier in another location. The barracks' tier level may also provide a cost reduction to replenishment, so that for advanced barracks, low quality units can have a much cheaper replenishment cost.
    Some buildings may also give automatic replenishment bonuses rather than reduction to replenishment cost, to suit the player's preferences: if you prefer to have your armies replenish automatically, you may want to construct other buildings that enhance that bonus. Generals' skills could also include reduction to replenishment costs. Ideally, an army with a general with skills focusing on replenishment cost would be suitable for lengthy campaigns, as means greater discounts to pay for replenishing lost men. The other benefit is that the more barracks you have, the greater bonuses you receive beyond simply being able to train units, giving barrack structures more depth in through more roles and functions in the campaign map.

    Powerful generals (RTW/ MTW2 generals and bodyguards, Warhammer's Lords/ Legendary Lords and Heroes)
    In certain TW titles the general played both a critical strategic and tactical role in battle mode: they can be powerful shock cavalry able to tank its way through enemy units, and in Warhammer's case had powerful spells and abilities that tremendously augment friendly forces, or did large damage to enemy units. The idea here is to retain that feature for generals in this game, but still allowing for a weaker combat unit that grants powerful support roles, depending on how you craft that character.
    Skills that benefit the army are no longer available in the regular skilltree; the ability to buff the entire army is achieved via other means, such as Army Integrity and the ranks of the army's general. Much of the general's skills therefore will be about augmenting his personal combat capability either at the defensive side (being able to avoid being killed) or offensive (being able to kill many units). Skills that improve his durability allow him to stay alive on the battlefield while his army-wide buffs remain in play; skills that improve his attack make him able to become a powerful unit in the map, and while still quite durable, reduces the modifiers that buff his army. An offensive general therefore sacrifices army buffs for both durability and attack, while a defensive general sacrifices attack power for better buffs and durability.
    Because generals' skills that directly buff army's stats are no longer accessible through his skilltree, the army-wide buffs are now acquired elsewhere.

    Army Legacy (Rome2's Traditions, Attila's Integrity)

    Using Rome2's Traditions mechanic, armies have their own skilltree that bolster their stats, with the additon that the general's personal attributes such as his rank and preference for defense or offense, directly modify the magnitute of the army's stats; a high ranking general with good loyalty and offensive stats, will greatly improve his army's charge and melee attack bonus, as well as morale and reduced vulnerability to things like attrition and morale. Likewise a smart defensive general will allow an army to have much better defensive stats and reduced penalties to being ambushed. So while the army's skilltree determines what stats are to be modified, their leading general's personal attributes will determine how much they are improved; a truly versatile army will be on with well balanced stats, as well as a general with balanced preference for offense and defense.

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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited May 28
    Agent design

    Goals: reduce number of agents, increase their effects to wider scale, support armies indirectly and act as force multipliers, remove ability to "attack" entities

    To reduce the number of agents on the campaign map, each faction will only have a very small set number of agents to train, barring rare circumstances such as unique faction design (ie a faction can train an additional agent of a certain type), unique buildings or regions, or special events (Rise of the Samurai's Shinobu agent).
    To compensate for their lower numbers their effects are no longer local but automatically apply both global effects as well as regional effects- in other words, both passive and active missions for agents will affect while regions and not a specific settlement or army.
    Missions themselves are also changed accordingly, so rather than a specific mission to assault an army's troops, simply placing a specific agent in the local region or close proximity of an enemy army will have effects through passive abilities.
    Similar to Passive Stance deployment, agents can have as many as three specific toggles to choose from as a mission, each one crafted according to their type, and each focusing on specific approaches.
    The three agent types are designed to complement eachother, with the optimal use involving all of them combined to magnify the effects of tactical, campaign and political choices you make. Deploying an agent against a certain faction will therefore improve the effects of successful political action against said faction, so you do not need to spend so many turns repeating the same action.
    All agents have at least three basic missions, each one involving military, economy/ campaign, and politics.

    Spy
    Subterfuge and infiltration based agent, a Spy agent will always grant vision and other subterfuge bonuses to the region it is in; it is the only agent that can Wound other agents, open gates and sabotage buildings. Their presence in a certain faction's regions will allow you to more easily succeed in Political actions against or for that faction.

    Spy's three mission ideas include:
    -Campaign: Intelligence Network: provides information on nearby armies and settlements of their details
    -Military: Survey battlefield: allows you to choose a pre-set list of battle maps. Some maps may favour your specific general's skill configuration, or the unit composition of your army
    -Political: Infiltrate Court: improves subterfuge actions for political intrigue (if in other faction); improves defense against subterfuge actions (if in own faction)
    Misc skill ideas include:
    -Misdirection: prevent a number of enemy armies from reinforcing; the level of the skill determine the armies, so if the game allows up to four armies on each side, a level one Misdirection skill means you can prevent only one of the army from joining, whereas level three prevents all of them. For balance, the enemy gets to decide which armies if any to join in battle.
    -Message Runners: enables or improves your armies' reinforcement range, allowing armies from further away to join as reinforcements; this stacks with any army's own skills that improve reinforcement range, so a particular army with large reinforcement range can reinforce an army from a significant distance.
    -Propaganda: improves morale for nearby friendly armies.
    -Terrorism: incurs morale penalties on nearby enemy armies.

    Dignitary
    Focus on economics and public order, is the only agent that can bribe, incite unrest and improve settlements. Presence in regions allow or improve certain political actions' success chance.
    Three missions ideas include:
    -Campaign: Stimulate Economy: improve region's growth and income; opposite effect in enemy regions
    -Military: Mercenary Contacts: improves the recharge rate, recruitment and upkeep costs of mercenary units not of your culture type (ie gain more horse archer availability if playing as Chinese or Tribesmen faction)
    -Political: Court Influence: improves effects of authoritative actions for political intrigue, improves defense against enemy authority political actions
    Misc skill ideas include:
    -Reduced upkeep costs for nearby armies
    -Incite Unrest: reduce

    Champion
    Focus on military buffs/ penalties, only agent that can fight in battle, magnify certain political actions
    -Military: Join battle: this agent can be embedded into a friendly army, participating in battles as a secondary general's bodyguard unit
    -Campaign: Oversea/ Disrupt recruitment: grants additions recruitment slot, cost, and time (more if unlocked via skills)
    -Political: Court Security: improves effects of authoritative actions for political intrigue, improves defense against enemy authority political actions
    Misc skill ideas include:
    -Sabotage Supplies: incurs penalties to replenishment for nearby enemy armies.
    -Priority Logistics: improves replenishment rate for nearby friendly armies.
    -Cultural Superiority: improves combat stats of units of that faction's culture type (ie a Nomadic champion will improve horse archers while Chinese champion improve chariots)

    Spy Retainers
    - Corrupt Official: improves information gathering
    - Fugitive Assassin: improves chance to wound
    - Body Double: improves subterfuge political actions
    - Vengeful Exile

    Dignitary Retainers
    - Criminal Informer
    - Mercenary Captain: improves mercenary discounts
    - Vigilant Guard: improves authority political actions
    - Accountant

    Champion Retainers
    - Horsebreeder: allows agent to become cavalry; nomadic champions become heavier cavalry
    - Master Archer: allows agent to become ranged; nomadic champions become horse archers, Chinese become ranged chariots, and Tribesmen become foot archers
    - Banished Hero: allows agent unit to become stealthed
    - Quartermaster: improves upkeep discounts
    - Diehard Follower: agent gains improved stats, including infinite morale
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users
    edited June 2
    Garrison Design
    In older TW titles a garrison was simply the army you had in the settlement; in MTW2 you had the ability to unlock free upkeep for certain units for a certain number of slots. In Shogun2 onward, their configuration can be changed through the buildings you construct, and will augment a stationed army in battle mode; configuration of garrisons however has never progressed in development. From Rome2 onward, the feature was toned down further so that armies were limited to generals, who were in turn limited to various game mechanics such as imperium and special unlocks.
    The idea I have for garrisons is simple and designed to allow players to configure city garrisons as if they were immobile armies. Only captains can lead garrisons, and like generals they have a limited ability to provide buffs to the garrison forces through their personal attributes.
    Captains do not have skilltrees unless upgraded to generals, but their traits and other bonuses remain useful to garrisons. Like generals in previous games, Captains can be removed from command, but unlike generals receive no loyalty penalties to the forces they lead; this allows players to preserve some of the more powerful captains in the event of imminent defeat from an invading army; other ways to grant improvements to captains involve technology and other effects that boost their level gain, making them more useful in late-game stage where elite units and powerful generals; overall however captains are by far inferior and do not replace generals, so in a siege, they can never replace full on armies.
    Captains will utilize the same type of retainers used by generals.
    Garrisons have a modified variant of army traditions, with the focus narrowed down to their limitations, ie they do not have skills that unlock movement range due to it being inapplicable, but instead that skill is replaced with something like ambush chance or reinforcement range. Attrition reduction skills will also be modified like reducing siege attrition.
    Functionally garrisons are managed just like regular armies with some differences outlined below.

    Garrison Upkeep Slots (MTW2's free upkeep slots, Warhammer's Bretonnian Vow skills)
    All settlements barring special bonuses have two penalties for garrison units: units that are not normally available for recruitment will have increased upkeep costs, and only units assigned to the Upkeep Slots will gain reduced upkeep costs.
    The number of upkeep slots is dependent on various factors, such as whether the settlement has a commandment enabled to increase slots, the number of military or other special buildings, and faction/ global bonuses. Different cultures can have different focuses on unit types for upkeep slots; for example, Chinese states will gain free upkeep to all crossbow or halberd infantry, whereas nomadic settlements will gain free upkeep for their various cavalry units; non-culture units (or cavalry units in a Chinese settlement) cannot be assigned to upkeep slots unless enough cultural integration has taken place.
    Mercenaries cannot normally use upkeep slots.

    Nomadic faction design

    Nomadic Camps (Horde settlements, MTW2 city/ castle settlements)
    In previous titles, Hordes were simply armies with the ability to construct settlements; they were amalgamated into a single entity, and thus carried the limitations of both.
    In this iteration, nomadic factions will have two types of "hordes", one simulating settlements and one simulating armies: both are mobile, but the bulk of military power relies on the army; while horde settlements can train basic units and act as the economic hub for the region. Horde settlements can move outside of owned regions but suffer various penalties; likewise, having too many horde settlements in one region is inefficient.
    The home regions of nomadic factions will have certain tiles that provide economic bonuses for nearby hordes; these tiles will be located near places such as rivers or forest; while these offer optimal locations for horde settlements, they also allow for predictable locations for attacking armies; part of the strategy for nomadic players will be to decide when and where to leave if a horde settlement is vulnerable to an invading army.
    All home regions can only support one horde settlement; every region will be assigned to one horde settlement, so while you can move hordes to various places, including multiple hordes in one region, you can only sustain as many as the regions you control; losing regions will incur penalties on the assigned horde, similar to Warhammer's Fightiness metre.

    Horde Prosperity (Warhammer's Fightiness)
    Horde settlements feature an economic version of Greenskin Fightiness- the higher the metre the more bonuses the horde gains, thus players will want to manage horde settlements optimally to produce the most economic benefit.
    Benefits for horde settlements and ways to gain them can be:
    -Trade with other factions (establishing trade)
    -Being placed on productive tiles (positioned near rivers, forests)
    -Not being attacked (enemy armies kept out of sight range)
    -Not moving (not being moved)
    Penalties can be as follows:
    -No trade
    -Placed in barren tiles (ie far from rivers)
    -Being attacked, defeated
    -Being trapped in foreign land
    -Constantly moving

    Caravans (provincial assets, Wood Elf outposts)

    Horde settlements can establish Caravans, simulating between Wood Elf outposts in Warhammer, and provincial assets form Shogun2, granting the Horde more construction slots and income/ growth, depending on the Caravan's configuration as desired by the player.
    Caravans function simply like minor settlements: they are miniature hordes and can be placed anywhere in the horde settlement's region, and being able to construct a limited set of basic structures; these are not settlements and can be raided by enemy armies, but cannot be destroyed, and can move faster than horde settlements. Caravans can be specialized via the few slots they offer, giving the controlling faction a variety of options that bolster economy or defenses.
    Caravans can be targeted by enemy armies for raids, and once caught and "attacked", the army must spend time to pillage the caravan over a number of turns; the more advanced the caravan the longer the turns to totally pillage, but will yield greater income as a result. Armies require spending the turn at the Caravan to commence pillaging. Once armies are pillaging a Caravan, they are vulnerable to attack from enemy armies and must defend; the pillaging army will forfeit a portion of pillaged resources if defeated.
    Unlike horde settlements, Caravans are placed in set locations in the region of their home horde settlement.

    Enslavement (Enslave)
    Nomadic armies can choose to enslave captives, earning additional income and granting Fear to the victorious army for a few turns, reducing morale of enemy armies.

    Hire Prisoners (Release Captives)
    Nomadic armies can "release" captives and thus gain tech capture bonuses, letting the faction advance in other culture tech

    Nomadic Defenses

    Unlike Chinese and Tribesmen, Nomadic factions do not feature the wall mechanic, and instead use the more classic TW garrison feature to protect their regions and settlements from attack; the defensive functions will focus more on movement and bolstered garrison units
    Settlement Hordes have poorer defense capability than other settlement types, and will rely more on the Army Horde and other features besides walls and large garrison for protection. Settlement Hordes also gain economic penalties if constantly on the move; if playing as a nomadic faction, a player must juggle between not moving too often to maximize economy but ensuring enemies won't destroy your Horde by keeping an army nearby for protection.

    One: Garrison Yurt: Unlike the Wall mechanics for Chinese, the nomadic variant of HQ is linear progressive- like a regular TW settlement, upgrading it confers more bonuses according to tier
    -Encampment: more unit recruitment slots
    -Proving Grounds: improves movement speed of the Horde settlement and its garrison units
    -Pastures: economic bonus, upkeep cost reduction to all cavalry units
    -Every level increases upkeep slot limits

    Two: Static
    -Fortified Encampment: the settlement will sport simply palisade walls, being able to hold out sieges
    -Caltrops: similar to sharpened stakes, these damage enemy units but does not block movement like walls
    -Messenger Network: improved movement speed for garrison, allied units
    -Scout Patrols: improved hiding and ambush

    Three: Active
    -Flaming Missiles: missile infantry and dismounted cavalry can fire flaming arrows
    -Supply Wagons: bonus ammunition
    -Chieftain's Banner: improved morale for all friendly units; Captain unit can toggle to gain infinite morale, but cannot move
    -Iron Weapons: bonus melee attack + defense

    Four: Support
    -Scavengers: bonus to post-battle loot
    -Slavers: bonus to prisoners captured
    -Tinker's Camp: bonus to tech capture
    -Mercenary Quarters: able to assign mercenary units into garrison slots
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  • daelin4daelin4 Senior Member Posts: 13,616Registered Users


    Tribesmen faction design

    Tribesmen utilize more types of infantry and less on cavalry/ chariots, and are the equivalent to Barbarian factions in RTW/ Rome2 and the Greenskins of Warhammer. Playing as Tribesmen factions you will rely more on things like ambush and aggressive infantry until you have acquired technologies necessary to build walls and field cavalry.
    Because of their limitations, Tribesmen factions will focus more on aggressive tech capture so as to quickly gain access to cavalry and other benefits to overcome their initial disadvantages in the early campaign.

    Home Trails (Warhammer's Underway)

    Similar to Underway mechanic, Tribesmen utilize the ability to bypass geographical limitations on the campaign map; however unlike in Warhammer, this ability can only be used if the army is in certain tiles simulating obstructions like forests, mountains and rivers; in tiles with plains and steppes this ability is not possible. This enables Tribesmen armies to gain a major strategic advantage against other armies, but only so long as it is in compatible territory.
    Similar to Underway mechanic, armies can intercept enemy armies in compatible tiles, forcing an ambush battle

    Deserters (Attila's Take on Prisoners)
    Tribesmen factions allow replenishment and tech capture opportunities post-battle, according to the number of prisoners taken

    Heavy Infantry: Tribesmen faction lean heavily on the use of infantry units in the initial stages of the campaign; swordsmen, dagger axemen and skirmishers counter chariots and cavalry, but lack movement speed and high armour. Tribesmen therefore rely on ensuring their melee infantry engage in close combat as quickly as possible while missile infantry deal with other threats.
    Whereas Chinese armies will begin the game relying on spear infantry, crossbows and chariots, Tribesmen factions will rely more on sword infantry, light skirmishers and ambush/ speed of army movements. Metaphorically speaking, they are the Greenskins to the Dwarfs.

    Tribesmen Defenses
    Tribesmen factions feature the walls mechanic, but are more primitive in design and whose main function is to support offensive attacks. They will thus feature fewer defensive stuff like better walls, and more offensive support stuff like granting armies temporary bonuses when stationed at walls
    Scheme of defense tiers

    1- benefits to defenses
    2- benefits to army
    3- benefits for melee units
    4- benefits for missile units
    Tiers are not progressive

    One: Defenses
    -Reinforced walls: walls reinforced with wood or stone depending on tech. Ideal against enemies using artillery
    -Mutilated Display: reduces morale of enemy armies
    -Moats: portions of walls will be inaccessible to siege engines, and units will be slow when crossing them. Suitable for battles with missile garrisons
    -Watchtowers: increases army, garrison reinforce range, improves ambush chance

    Two: Army- bonuses for garrisons and armies based on walls; armies that leave walls will have the bonus decay after a number of turns; turns can be modified by things like skills, tech, events, etc.
    - Weaponsmith: garrison and army units gain combat bonuses.
    - Storage Pits: improved replenishment, reduced attrition
    - Muster Fields: reduced upkeep
    - Deserters' Camp: increases the rate of gaining captives post-battles

    Three: Melee
    - Warrior Lodge:: improved XP gain
    - Sparing Hall: improved melee attack
    - Drill Range: improved charge bonus
    - Armourer: improved melee defense, armour (armour buff stacks with Shieldmaker)

    Four: Missiles
    - Hunting Lodge: improved range
    - Practice Range: improved rate of fire
    - Engineer's camp: improved accuracy
    -Shieldmaker: improved melee defense, armour (armour buff stacks with Armourer)
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  • SealiteSealite Posts: 2Registered Users
    I would say the Ming Dynasty would be the most fun era for China to be honest. I would love to have Warring States of China but it may end up similar to Shogun 2. Not that it would be bad but rather i feel like its gonna be like Rise of the Samurai. Basic. There weren't extensive technology at the time for weapons and nothing that makes Chinese icons of weapons like gunpowder and repeating crossbows. I would instead go towards Ming Dynasty where they have a nice piece of history from beginning to end. It would begin a campaign conquering Yuan Empire and the creation of the Ming Dynasty to Imjin War with the Koreans versus the Japanese to the fall of Ming against Nurhaci and his Manchus. At this point of time, China has developed their iconic weapons and varied states such as the Mongols, Manchus, Koreans, and Japanese. And each of these factions have their own specialties that are uniquely different from others. You could say this could be the Medieval Total War of China in that sense. And similar to Shogun 2, there could be Nanban presence in Macau.
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