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Dear Creative Assembly, with all respect, the situation around multiplayer in «TWS:ToB» is doubtful. The main reason for this is the unsuccessful variability of the units, and as a result – strange balance.
ToB is very similar to Shogun2TW, because of one nation and closed historical region. Also ETW and NTW did not have a gameplay variety: almost identical builds of armeis and very similar factions. But only multiplayer in Shogun2 had a resounding success. Why? Because in ‘classic mode’ of battles each faction had mini-bonuses: for swords, for spears, for cavalry etc. These bonuses were small, but it’s was enough for very interesting mp fights at the beginning of Shogun2 vanilla. Another excellent component was ‘avatar mode’ and personalization of general and veterans. The best Total War decision ever! F.e. in TW Rome2 such balance is impossible because of historical period and cultural properties of factions. Barbarians strikingly different from the Greeks in tactics and units. So, nobody expected a repetition of the gold balance. But in ToB this variant is very easy to implement! All factions in ToB have little differences in tactics and units, and the main problem for now is unplayability of some types of units and some deficiency of the functional in multiplayer.
Suggestions: 1) Balance edits that bring closer «Rock–Paper–Scissors» to the ToB. Adding a little bit of breakdown damage to archers and skirmishers (~5%). As a variant - add special types of shells (like in Rome2), not only fire arrows. Of course, we understand that ToB is primarily about brutal melee combat with sharp swords and mighty shields, and all focus is on melee units. But in situation where 2-3 archers do not affect the course of the battle at all, players will not take them at all, using only swords+axes spam, and it’ll be sad for multiplayer. 2) Adding weight and inertia to the cavalry, because it must break through by ‘charge’ most of the units that do not stand in the ‘shield wall’, except spearmen ofc. For now with cavalry is the same situation as with archers: it is much more reasonable to take infantry spam than 3-4 unrealizable units of cavalry. Players just using axes spam + berserkers and nothing else, that’s all multiplayer gameplay for now in ToB. 3) Adding mini-bonuses to factions. F.e. +3% of melee skill for axes, or -10% of the cost for weak spearmen, or +5% of accuracy for archers, or +5% of charge for expensive cavalry etc. This decision will give a variety in the armies with the same set of units (like in was in ‘classic mode’ of S2TW). 4) Adding key buildings in battles (like in was in S2TW). Bonuses from the capture and retention of such buildings will give the necessary dynamics for multiplayer battles. 5) Adding a rating system that was in Shogun2TW, including naval battles. Adding the ability to search for fast sea battles. 6) Do not know how it happened, but the winner is not registered in the results of the battle, even with an icon. 7) Adding ‘avatar mode’ and customization for generals and units. Historical era in ToB is very suitable setting for customization of banners, colors and armor. This decision will allow to show more cultural features of Britainnia of that period. 8) Adding a retainers system, like it was in Shogun2 (maximum 5 retainers for generals, which give different bonuses for land or naval battles). ToB have enough historical material for interesting list of retainers.
This simple additions will bring to the multiplayer a significant amount of attractiveness. Players will spend more time than 2-3 months for this game, and they will buy new DLC-s with special units for factions and with new factions. Otherwise, the game will suffocate in the shadow of «Three Kingdoms», because singleplayer process is finite, and multiplayer is directed into infinite replayability.