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Dev Diary: Balancing Total War: THREE KINGDOMS

Balancing any game is no mean feat – and Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is no exception.

We hand over to associate designer Matt Perkins to give you an insight into the balancing process, particularly in the leadup to the release of Mandate of Heaven: https://www.totalwar.com/blog/dev-diary-balancing-total-war-three-kingdoms/

Got any balancing feedback of your own? Let us know in this thread!


  • Whiskeyjack_5691#3558Whiskeyjack_5691#3558 Registered Users Posts: 4,247
    CA_James said:

    Got any balancing feedback of your own? Let us know in this thread!

    Are we talking specifically about unit balancing? Or general all-round balancing, like hero abilities, equipment and items, buildings, etc?
  • CA_James said:

    Got any balancing feedback of your own? Let us know in this thread!

    Are we talking specifically about unit balancing? Or general all-round balancing, like hero abilities, equipment and items, buildings, etc?
    Any feedback you have is great. it doesn't have to be about units and battle!
  • Whiskeyjack_5691#3558Whiskeyjack_5691#3558 Registered Users Posts: 4,247
    CA_James said:

    CA_James said:

    Got any balancing feedback of your own? Let us know in this thread!

    Are we talking specifically about unit balancing? Or general all-round balancing, like hero abilities, equipment and items, buildings, etc?
    Any feedback you have is great. it doesn't have to be about units and battle!
    Cool beans, thanks!

    ... this thread is gonna get long.
  • VarnigusVarnigus Registered Users Posts: 6
    An idea that came to me this morning: a lot of players stick with militia because it is already close to level 10 when they can finally afford the upgrade, which makes it significantly more desirable short- and medium-term than more advanced units that will start out at a lower level. Maybe cap militia levels a bit lower, like 5 or something? I feel like it defeats the point a bit to have a militia that can gain a ton of experience and level up like crazy...

    Thanks for an awesome game! This game alone convinced me to get back into PC gaming for the first time in over a decade.
  • caocaothedecievercaocaothedeciever Registered Users Posts: 182
    Overall, I love this game. It's one of my favorite Total Wars by far, and I imagine with more development down the road, it will get only bigger and better.

    In terms of unit balancing, I have one nitpick-

    Archers are in general extremely powerful. I've found that most victories come down to good usage of your ranged (in particular crossbows) and short of being utterly overwhelmed, it's difficult to not lose. It also is a major problem with seiges- you can spend all your ammunition, then if you still have movement points, withdraw and assault again. It's rendered seiges very easy, with little need to actually STORM a city- just shoot everyone inside to death. It also brings back the same problem with Trebuchets, which, I still think should be a weapon that needs to be constructed at a seige, rather than brought to the battle. While they aren't nearly as devestating as before, they are still extremely powerful devestating armies long before the archers even begin a skirmish. The multi-bolt crossbows could be slightly tweaked, but I find them less overpowered than the Trebs.

    I do have a few other notes, but I think this is one that would help make battles feel different, and allow for certain units, (like the Fury of Beihai et al) stand out more as one of their greater strengths IS their higher ammo limit.
  • Blaeys#7037Blaeys#7037 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,389
    edited February 2020
    I can sum up my biggest issue with balance in Three Kingdoms campaign battles (vs AI) by focusing on a single unit type - artillery. With 2-3 flame shot equipped catapults or ballistae, you can beat AI armies 3-4 times larger than yours and often take ZERO casualties (especially if you combo them with hero charges encouraging the enemy to bunch up.

    It makes the campaign way too linear and easy. More importantly, it removes choice - you always recruit strategists as fast as you can - and you always beeline for the flaming shot traits. Likewise, in sieges, sitting back and burning the city - with zero response from the enemy - again proved to be the go to strategy. Me and a friend abandoned a coop campaign for this very reason - it just wasnt fun steamrolling everything.

    I was hoping it would be fixed with KoP, but it really wasn't.

    Three Kingdoms is a very fun game, but the battles themselves need a lot of work to promote greater strategic and tactical choice. When the same strategy works against every AI enemy every time, it begins to get boring.
  • Rewan#2358Rewan#2358 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 4,900
    edited February 2020
    A very truthful Dev Diary, highlighting the fact that you have to be very flexible when thinking about balance as well as aware that sometimes a problem is not the one that is apparent at first. (Yeah Balance is a messy job, just because people's opinions on what is balanced/not balanced vary so so much)

    Just a question, can we talk about balance changes we have already talked about on these forums (so basically make a big juicy balance steak to digest) or should we keep it to things that we didn't neccesseraly breach on already ?
    Post edited by Rewan#2358 on

    My personal collection of hazardous tests and quickfixes (yes this is a link).
    Wondering why you get some traits on your characters this may give you a vague idea

    Balance enthusiast, I like tinkering and messing with stuff and values. Cool heads prevails !
  • Whiskeyjack_5691#3558Whiskeyjack_5691#3558 Registered Users Posts: 4,247
    edited February 2020
    Mentioned in another thread that the Commander class could do with a little more work. Liked the changes to them in Patch 1.3.0, but they're still only ever a second choice rather than a viable one.

    I think the Court building from the Administration Offices chain could do with being moved from Small Regional City (level 7) down to City (level 5), so the player can start combating corruption a little bit sooner.
    The Military Forges could be tweaked to benefit Infantry/Cavalry/Ranged Units, instead of Melee Infantry/Spear Infantry/Ranged Units.
    The Horse Pastures building chain really needs to be reworked; it's entirely possible to get entire cavalry armies with nearly zero upkeep because of Horse Pastures.
    Likewise, Ma Teng's Xiliang Supply Lines building chain seems a little underwhelming (although I like the recent change that allows you to recruit ethnic Qiang units with them). I think instead of replacing the Military Infrastructure chain entirely, it should be a separate building chain, or even a branch of it.

    Please look at the replenishment rate of the Imperial Guard units; nobody minds that they have a very slow replenishment rate, but the fact that you practically need to send them all the way back to your capital for them to replenish at all is way too punishing. We had some ideas about that (and other things) in this thread.
    Trebuchets still have a tendency to unbalance battles. I think they need to be looked at a little more, and the role they play in battles.
    The Yellow Turbans feel really muddled and confused, in particular; their skill tress, their retinue setup, and the roles of their classes. I think a lot about them needs to be looked at.

    Weapons, Armour, Followers, Accessories, and "Set" combinations across the board all seriously need to be looked at. Sometimes the benefits on certain pieces of equipment are vastly outweighed by the negatives, and some Set Combinations are actually pointless.

  • AHumpierRogue#5296AHumpierRogue#5296 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 5,519
    I'd like to see two things. A minor one is for late game fire cavalry. I feel like Jade Dragons are a bit too similar, and overshadowed by, Cataphracts. Something I saw a(now unupdated) mod do which I thought was cool was make Jade Dragons sort of a late game fast lancer cavalry, while Cataphracts stayed slow but still powerful and tanky. I think you should take this idea. Make Jade Dragons a bit squishier but also faster and more maneuverable while Cataphracts stay the same speed they are now(which is very slow) but tanky and still having a powerful mass-assisted charge. Jade Dragons and Cstaphracts shouldnt be the same speed imo.

    Another thing, and this one is far larger and more impactful and maybe just too high, would be to change the firing arc of crossbow units. Now they shouldnt be guns firing straight on of course but imo they are just too strong compared to archers right now. Giving them a shallower firing arc that cant shoot over stuff easily unless aided by a hill would be great IMO while archers keep their current firing arc.
    Formerly known as Krunch, in case you wonder where he went.
  • Ares101Ares101 Registered Users Posts: 254
    Interesting. I wonder though why since release Crossbowman have more range than Archers? In all other TW games it is the opposite because in general a Bow has more Range than an Crossbow.
  • unnounno Registered Users Posts: 6
    I want to see a hostage who is one of royal family for diplomatic resource in play.
    Also what I most wish is the power design of characters like Guan Yu. I think the generals very depends on items for their power not own power. So it would be better that Wu Xing stat change to be more differentiated then Guan Yu will be a real monster not by item but himself.
  • nephlitenephlite Registered Users Posts: 407
    edited February 2020
    I'm so tired of clicking on all the units one by one and clicking the 'caltrops' button.
    Most East Asian players are good at RTS, but the interface of Total War is not enough to exercise full ability for now.

    Why not create a combat skill hotkeys? Assign keys for the ZXCVBN line.
    This will be very useful to fast command for Genarals and Units' skill and formation.

    I'm sorry to say that, Hotkey mechanic is implemented 20 years ago in other RTS series.
  • nephlitenephlite Registered Users Posts: 407
    edited February 2020
    I would also like to remind you that the performance of all type of Carvalry and Ballista, Trebuchet is OP. What they have in common is that they are powerful only when used by humans. AI does not realize the full potential of these units.

    All Cavalry can bypass and wipe out all enemy archers. AI cannot, never respond against this tactic.

    But really problem is Horse pasture. It has crazy balance that makes the all carvalry's cost and upkeep to 0. So especially when Ma Teng or Dong Zhuo occupy their desert local area, the game turns into a boring block crushing game, not anymore RTS. A million horsemens will can destroy everything.

    Ballista can smashes all enemy units before approaching, but any research is not needed to prepare.

    Trebuchets are not very strong as range units but it enables a 0-turn siege, and messes up all the siege phase.

    Every normal siege machines (simple ram and MH's siege tower) takes 1 turn to craft. This makes difficult to siege in many directions. If you want to attack the castle from three sides, you have to wait for 3 turns.

    But if we even use only 1 tebuchet, can destroy all enemy walls and doors you want in just 0 turns. That's why Blue general is Super OP and cannot be left out of the army. It can't be replaced with any type of generals. This creates a serious imbalance, and causes that makes normal siege tedious. Because If there is a much faster and better way, so the other alternatives are discarded.

    If difficult to more nerf the trebuchet, CA should strengthen normal siege methods.
    In conclusion, normal siege machines should be able to craft 2-3 per turn.
    Post edited by nephlite on
  • ZeraMavisZeraMavis Registered Users Posts: 47
    I want a two paragraph history of every unique design hero.For 3K. Do you think they can do this?
  • nephlitenephlite Registered Users Posts: 407
    edited February 2020
    - The Mandate wars can be completed within 60 turns, but advanced research in Yellow Turban Factions requires few hundreds of turns. This means that player can only produce low-tech units.

    - Yellow Turban healer general's 'Knowledge of the body' skill is very OP, we can crush all enemies with only 3 or 6 zombie healers.
    Maximum heal limit is must needed.

    - Some unique generals with 'Hail of arrows' skill easily can beat 1 army. All of projectile skill is required some limit for use.
    Post edited by nephlite on
  • shattishatti Registered Users Posts: 753
    Generals in records mod
    Lu bu vs Zhao yun for example
    "Lu bu takes 5 second to let Zhao yun route"

    yes he is lu bu, but it still a 61 vs 61 men fight,

    Morale & Charge bonus needs a rework for more immersive encounters
    ____________________________Total War: Three Kingdoms mods______________________________
  • caocaothedecievercaocaothedeciever Registered Users Posts: 182
    nephlite said:

    - The Mandate wars can be completed within 60 turns, but advanced research in Yellow Turban Factions requires few hundreds of turns. This means that player can only produce lowtech units.

    - Yellow Turban healer general's 'Knowledge of the body' skill is very OP, we can crush all enemies with a 3 or 6 Healers.
    Maximum heal limit is must needed.


    I forgot to mention that. The Turban units in the MoH are seriously hampered by the fact that it takes ages for them to ever get access to any of the decent units.
  • LESAMA#5456LESAMA#5456 Member Registered Users Posts: 2,194
    Nice post 👍🏻

    Overall like the balance changes and it’s a big step forward.

    Some points of feedback:
    - trebuchets are still getting 300 kills or more per battle. This could be reduced. However take into account that once it reaches a certain threshold people won’t recruit it anymore. Furthermore trebuchets make battles fun and it’s cool to see the impact of a hit.
    - It makes no sense to me that every character is able to recruit imperial units. Imperial units should be tight to classes and character level. Only senior members (level 4 or higher) should have access.
    - Imperial infantry upkeep is not balanced and plain cheap compared to other units.
    - Morale could have a bigger effect especially late game where most battles tend to become real slug fests. Especially with high level Units and commanders. Fighting to the death should only be applicable for high tier units. It’s silly to see archer militia putting up a fight when only 20 of the 240 men in a unit are left due to the unit having moral boosts.
    - I really like the battle deployable items. This really adds to diversity. Would be cool if you could play around with some more stuff once certain criteria are met.

    Overall this game is getting better With every update if it weren’t for the bugs. Especially the diplomacy related ones. Next dev diary about bug fixing?
  • Miyuki_2Miyuki_2 Registered Users Posts: 18
    Honestly, melee cav are fine. It takes quite a bit of tech to unlock cataphracts (and the techs dont contribute much to econ), and lancer cavs are extremely fragile to arrows.

    There is another reason why Vanguards and Champions generals are used a lot: they have access to Reach and Flexibility for +5% replenishment and +25% movement. One potential fix is to allow them to be activated regardless of whether or not the generals are leading the army: just don't let them stack.

    Another factor is that there are just so many legendary Vanguards and Champions out there: Lu Bu, the Ma family, Sun Ce, Zhang Fei... Legendary Commanders and Sentinels are a lot less accessible. The same goes for unique earth units which are.... somewhat absent.

    I would like to see aura radius to be increased. On extreme unit size, auras barely cover half of an army.

    We need a mid and high tier axe unit. All this talk about "axes beating shields" becomes rather moot when all you have got are hillmans.

    Factions should get two unique units: Lu Zhi having a strong spear guard and a unique shock cav makes their army more unique. Others such as Liu Bei only have slightly better archers, Dong Zhou looks at his xilang cavs and wonder why he has a reskinned cataphract as a unique unit. Speaking of faction: can we get stronger leader skills? +10% character xp is pretty weak: essentially just a school. Bump it up to 50% to make it significant.

    The pace at which new units are unlocked should also be looked at. Take a look at the avg length of a game: by the time you can recruit a dragon unit, often times the game is over (unless you ignore a lot of other key techs such as extra trade, workshop upgrades, etc)

    I don't like the existence of trebuchets. Being able to capture a city in 1 turn because you have a trebuchet is silly. I am fine with removing it from the game all together.
  • Misaka_ComplexMisaka_Complex Registered Users Posts: 3,707
    edited February 2020
    I would say that the biggest balancing problem is items (ancillaries) and the skill tree. I mean who needs non combat characters like eunuchs, Liu Hong or empress He to have skills which are supposed to help them on the battlefield? Oh yeah and the terrible replenishment rate of imperial units also deserves another mention on it's own.

  • ComradCommodoreComradCommodore Senior Member MichiganRegistered Users Posts: 919
    I would love to see units redistributed amongst the different classes, as some of them just seem a bit odd

    Axe infantry as it's description goes, is used as an aggressive charging unit. Seems like something that should be apart of the vanguard doesn't it ? Wouldn't mind seeing Commanders have the ability to recruit trebs/balista as well. Commanders should be the ultimate balanced army class

    Some kind of a change to archers would be nice as well. I like how effective archers are but it seems like infantry is just there to take up space rather then turn the tide of a battle. If an a.i is approaching me , generally I can get 1 or 2 units to route/extreme dmg before the engagement even begins because of the crossbowmen. I like that they are effective but they are so dominant. Mix that in with a well placed cavalry charge and the battle is over before you know it
  • ZeraMavisZeraMavis Registered Users Posts: 47
    In Eight Princes should have The handicapped Sima Zhong genius kid Sima Yu Be be available is are loyal to his dad. The ultimate sign of Allegiance can be you making him your next king. Also they probably make a choice to be the unifier for kid Emperor become the faction leader.
  • JerroserJerroser Registered Users Posts: 793
    Probably for me, one of the most glaring things is that often even on higher difficulties, the AI is generally very bad at arranging its armies compared to the player. Mostly because the player is very likely to optimise its armies with elites aligned mostly with their required class types and combining them in a way that fits well together. While the AI often just uses a few elites from a characters then fills the rest with militia that allows them to be largely interchangeable in any army combination.

    For more specific aspects I would agree that ranged do tend to be somewhat over powered, particularly the artillery units. But this isn't helped by the fact that the ai often uses large numbers of Ji militia that makes its more armies vulnerable to range based player army. It also never seems to use formations aside from loose (partly due to not prioritising the inclusion of a strategist). I've never actually seen it use the turtle formation which would also work to better counter op ranged units, even ballista and towers don't seem to be able units that are using it.

    I also feel that right now a fair few units seem rather oddly placed in the research tree and it might be better to either reduce the tech requirement or just allow them to be recruited off the bat. For instance, why do you unlock the regular sabre warriors later when you start of with access to the slightly better Jian Sword Guard? Why do you need to unlock Spear Warriors when you start off with Spear Guard, when it seems to me that the latter are much more versatile and useful? (more resistant to ranged attacks and difference in damage out put is minimal)
  • ashmizenashmizen Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 318
    Big brain time -

    Charge value should not be higher for shock vs melee cav:

    Why did Islamic horsemen use curved swords, why did the mongol horsemen use swords, why did the cavalry charges in the Napoleon time frame all use swords?

    In Napoleon's time frame, cavalry isn't obsolete yet because of their SHOCK value in a charge. Yes, they used swords.

    The idea that spears have higher shock than swords is simply incorrect, and that assumption is what why it's unbalanced.

    If I and 10 other guys on horses needed to charge 50 fleeing archers, I would prefer swords to spears/lances. The pinpoint spears are easier to dodge vs the big swing of a sword, and slower too - need to circle around to charge a spear again, while I can just follow 3 guys and swing swing swing to kill all of them.

    Spears should have higher AP damage, and have a bonus against large - if I needed to charge down enemy knights or elephants, give me a lance please!

    Swords should have higher rate of attack and higher non-AP damage.

    In the end the armor, morale, and charge value of these units should independent of what weapon they are using, varying only based on tier of unit. Making all sword units have higher morale and armor doesn't make sense, as it doesn't have anything to do with how a sword functions. A sword doesn't make you feel braver and offer more protection against arrows. And as Napoleonic cavalry can tell you, the charge value of sword horsemen is not inferior, not at all.

    Indeed this total war tradition of calling it "shock" cav and "melee" cav is stupid. A spear is also a melee weapon, and all cavalry play the role of SHOCK in an army.
    Warhammer TW wish list:
    1. allow building during other player's turn in co-op.
    2. Autoresolve damage shifted to more on regular melee units, less on lord/heroes/monsters
    3. AI stop building armies of only 8 pistoliers
  • ma7moud_al_sharif#1337ma7moud_al_sharif#1337 Registered Users Posts: 408
    edited February 2020
    speaking of unit balance (at least singleplayer):

    militia changes i think r rly great and warranted. morale change is good to. has been an underutilized element so far so its nice to see it active and working.

    skirmishers (particularly crossbows) r strong but needed to keep cav, heroes (and currently weak ji infantry - srsly whats the point of ji infantry ill never make that mistake again in employing them) in check.

    as to trebuchets - these r silly outside sieges but i dont use them so i at least am not bothered by them.
    cav r still **** strong. but only in the players hands. so generally speaking i think they dont need big changes. (horse pastries r kind of funny but not critical since only a dedicated player gets to exploit that).

    as to wood vs metal - it would b interesting to see how CA accrue their data on the state of unit balance since i cannot relate with the notion as in the article that prior to latest patch, metal units were not good enough vs wood infantry. even back then sabre militia were my go to infantry (since these slightly minimized losses add up in enemy territory with no replenishment - plus i dont see the point of using infantry as main instrument to counter cavalry whereas cavalry is better at keeping other cav checked and rly potent in the players hands).
    imo wood units just need adjustments in infantry fighting capabilites to roughly the same spot they were before the patch (either through infantry formations (wood proprietary) or some buff to evasion) and three kings unit balance would b at a decent spot (disregarding romance). rly its just that the wood/metal disparity is greatly unwarranted and needs to get changed.

    its great that morale now plays a bigger part in skirmish (through shortcomings of low tier units) but due to now useless anti cav infantry (warding off other infantry should imo still b their primary duty not secondary) the tactics of the game as to my concerns is now severely downgraded actually. its been a recurring bane, that one imo bad habit of CA, to put r/p/s over other tactical elements of the game. r/p/s works great with warhammer but this one has much more stuff going around there.

    just to emphasize the worth i hold towards low/mid tier swords as the infantry dominating aspect of the game:
    hypothetically speaking, would we remove sword units from the game, i rly think the game would benefit in the regard that the tactics would revolve more around whether the unit is braced and ready to receive charge, or on the move/binded by other elements and general placement/deployment of the army thus promoting USAGE of units over R/P/S (rps more in the sense of brainless cav/sword charge). now add infantry formations to that. the missile block turtle one is fine but other defensive formations tend more towards the weak sauce spectrum compared to the former example. a greater consideration of these would also shut up other forumers who constantly complain about high paced action gameplay without underlying their interpretations of the tactical shortcomings/potential.

    the infantry change is big. thats why im spamming. i hope the spear nerf finds another consideration because im strongly convinced that a clearly pronounced infantry fighting role for swords only similar to rome 2, ToB does not improve the game tactically (opposed to shogun 2 where spears r viably in both sp/mp). or make it so that two handed shock infantry, if they ever get introduced (akin to attila 2 handed axes) totally wreck standard infantry but get countered by charge reflect of spear units (attila had spear units that had charge reflect against all but these get trashed by 2h axes still since spears throughout most titles r trash).
    ---Furthermore i am of the opinion, that the current Unit Count(20,21) must be lifted!! [moddable + ui-scale]

    CA pls, where is Three Kings start date?

    Gavespawn Fan Club________the tributes in charlemagne are appreciated
    Fan Club Cao Wei__________.*(Cao 190-start lacks sentinel assignment)
    Lobby Group Black Achilleez __Troy Saga in a nutshell

    dear CA,
    - pls allow the player to freely sort the order of occupied building cards/slots! especially since the buildings r colour-coded.
    - as an old fan i hope the troy 1/2y exclusivity deal was a one-off marketing push and not an ill omen of what to expect for the future (borderlands route)
    - kudos for supporting mod-ability still but it could be better like how it was in older games

    feature requests / suggestions / wishlist

    this sub-spoiler claims, why player opinions can matter where hard numbers might be unable to tell

    judging from CA's 3k blogpost about the unit balancing process;
    beside all their tools and professionalism, i think some of us long-term enthusiasts can entertain some useful ideas that havent been had and/or whicih their data extraction simply wont tell (them);
    judging from the mp, the average tw player is just dreadful at the game. sp perhaps even moreso.
    all those data (which may include players who r not intimate with the tw franchise at all) will tell nothing but big noise unless the extracts monitor/account for the top ranked 200 ladder in an isolated bracket
    (which btw tend be infested with exploiters and shenanigans (connection "loss" or count-down->draw kiters), idiots and bm cuz mp in proud tradition is a step-child feature)
    which means there are only SOME on the top ladders who deserve their spot through fair competition
    so even that top sample does not make a reliable src but still perhaps give a more accurate picture than parsing the entire spectrum indiscriminately!

    i do understand the skepticism towards the fanbase regarding opinions on the meta game /balance decisions and thus rather reliance purely on numbers-driven intake; as poor player feedback can ruin games and theres plenty of allegoric examples.
    in case of rome ii, apart from the bugs i truly believe its poor player feedback like for example the anti-blobbing crowd but others as well
    that might had hamstrung rome 2's post-release development slightly for the worse.

    but i cant imagine any amount of analytics will ever give them the full picture either
    (as ud probably know - technological locks, upkeep, veterancy, ai difficulty and other campaign related circumstances would inevitably tilt the general player progressions)
    but their blogpost suggests exactly that, that the data upon which some decisions (balance or meta) may hinge upon get extracted monolithically without further differentiation (or discrimination)
    with exactly this kind of justification, three kings skirmish (talking of records) progressed for the much worse and if you look up the biggest mods, none of them leave the weak skirmish untouched
    [update] 3k-records unit morale as in 1.7.0 is excellent though (on par with shogun 2 and napoleon)

    the meta nature of the game, regarding vision and direction, which r subjective matters may be steered through data impartially
    (for instance in accordance to mean sentiments and thus overall preference)
    but i have some serious doubt that data can be extracted truly in workable format to reliably assess balancing matters unless as said above the top sample gets considered discriminatorily

    obviously, theres a host of realities that im simply not aware of (and im less even in a position to conceive the feasability / difficulties that come with troubleshooting and implementing new features)
    i dont claim to no better than the developers themselves but as a true enthusiast i do have an opinion and i think albeit stale but solid, tw has way more potential in the 3d skirmish to be a challenging and interesting game then CA is making use of - prob due to some higher-ups deeming it more prospectable to cater towards and nurture the utter lowest casual spectrum of the gaming demographic (theres those who just wanna kill time and relax and those who play rts/rtt for a challenge). other than some pathological forum lap-dogs would have me believe i think as an enthusiast who merely wants to see the franchise successively improve as a game experience (which is subjective of c) - and i know many steam friends that would argue its been regressing ever since shogun 2 (which i dont necessarily agree with in full but i do see the point), it is fine to critizise the franchise for not developing its full potential (in a constructive manner as far as my language permits which might still come across different). after all it is one opinion of a fan nothing more nothing less.

    someday in the future ill need to cut this section down to a considerably less-roamy, and more digestible format but i think some ideas/thoughts might sound interesting


    * replace the dreadful supply mechanic as in warhammer, if necessary erase it
    * attila unit progression was nice
    * keep troy's multi-ressource where appropriate
    * limit elite/doom-stacking to keep them special akin to how troy managed to address it tied with ressources/conditions
    * keep/re-use/develop retinue system as in three kings (whereever appropriate to the period), but without unit-type exclusions (not as restrictive as 3k if any at all);
    .........rome ii's armiy system was much too restrictive - three kings retinue system is a clear improvement but unit type lock is bad
    ......* organic centralized army group/corps (instead of forcing separate reinforcment stacks)
    .........* similarly to 3k but N not hard capped to 3: N*(1+6)*units (which traditionally 21 units constituting out of 3 corps)
    ............but sized organically analogous to mount-and-blade style marshal system
    * further develop armies local ressources like war supply in three kings and horde mechanics in warhammer,
    ......* perhaps link it to 'army-traditions' or baggage trains proprietary to leading reatinue commander's traits/attributs/skills
    ......* ai may have cheat but keep it strict for the player - not like in three kings
    * keep improved diplomacy for future titles (like in 3 kings, troy saga)
    * tone down traditionally rediculous artillery and make it a constructable (bar dedicated field artillery pieces)
    ............perhaps linked to some engineers camp via the baggage-train/army-traditions
    * further expand event/dilemma system; three kings does a pretty good job on that!

    tactical/3d skirmish

    * imo single-entities go against the prior established authenticity of historically leaning tw;
    ......* i find historic tw should develop/have its own signature content/challenges/allure to the player
    .........rather than imitate warhammer only to turn out warhammer-lite with a historic twist
    .........(heroines like "Jeanne dArc" obviously deserve highlight but not as single entities if possible)

    * tactical PRINCIPLE over RPS alignment - a larger chapter that i mayhaps expand upon in the future and/or restructure the entire segment after ((
    ......* tactical principle means unit-formations, behaviour, abilities and maneuvre - but also intel, prospection and prediction vs reactive measure
    .........abilities can force behaviour in the opposition
    .........(similarly to thrones slow down debuff upon missile harrassment [which sadly didnt make it into release], or horses rearing up when charing braced units)
    .........as an example; loose formation might be enforced through a dual-condition of
    .........low discipline or morale and (field artillery bombardment, or when threatened by a high grade unit in wedge formation [be it cav or inf])
    .........unit might refuse charge order when low morale and/or low stamina
    .........the following r probably too bold but have interesting tactical considerations/ramifications to formation doctrines;
    .........marching order as a stance (turn+, speed+, brace-),
    .........band/regiment rotation distinction (difference linear vs deep block)
    .........cavalry cant rotate on the spot but must wheel about
    .........charging (cav and inf) may apply friendly damage
    .........fleeing cav can cause mild friendly damage
    .........heavy cavalry has wind-up phase when accelerating/decelerating
    .........fleeing units can disrupt order of friendly units (force shield-/spear-wall disband)
    .........missile combat - distinction or seperate modi between direct and indirect fire/aim (medieval 2 did that distinction somewhat)
    .........missile combat - greater distinction between distance shooting and point blank
    ............* shooting at maximum distance should be less effective;
    ............* perhaps add orders for units to open-fire/begin-shooting at 2 or 3 preset target ranges (max, medium, point-blank)

    ......* scouting imo should be a dedicated unit-role; expanded upon in the LoS section below
    .........shogun had justifiable unit abilities (exchange 'second-wind' could be rebranded "rotation of ranks" et c. - whereas rome 2 had some nonsensical ones),
    .........there r a number of unit ability examples i have in mind (other than unit formations) and most focus on the morale aspect (expand upon later due to bloat)
    .........to use morale as main mechanic/resource over unit health has the advantage that morale is dynamic (in lieu with troy/warhammer healing effects)
    .........as such morale as the main driver allows for more dynamic gameplay, premonition (as opposed to strictly decrementive health states) and come-back moments
    .........prospect and prediction vs reactionary action r no empty platitudes either and go hand in hand with LoS
    .........but are more directly related to the proportion of movement (maneuvre) vs combat speed (kill-rate/attack-cycle/interval) as well as the tactical merits
    .........of increased unit cap (as practically proven by similar skirmish/3d-battle simulators that r not exactly tw)
    .........IMPROVED GROUP/cluster controls
    ...........im about to lose track and sadly the section is bloated enough already (ref: LoS chapter) will elaborate about unit-cap and control in full order when i rework this mess

    * keep pronounced environment effects (like saga troy and arena tw did - and expand on it) -> but communicate it more clearly to the player
    ......* some difficult environment require that the unit disband battle formation
    .........(which amplify tactical robustness of sword infantry (particularly light/medium) that dont rely on dense formations for effectiveness)
    .........* cavalry cant charge or dont receive charge bonus on difficult terrain

    * make more use of unit stances/formations (i.e. yari-wall, [shieldwall+buff, phalanx+buff])
    ......* various quality distinctions - for instance depict how much emphasis the supervising corps general puts into his drills (or various kinds thereof)
    .........respectively assigned units inherit from general emphasis
    .........ie. shield wall - drill tier1, shield wall - drill tier2 et c.
    .........whereas another corps general emphasises more strongly on ambush tactics
    .........war cry, suebian charge et c.
    .........whereas certain grade units have drills built-in due to standardization, or due being mercenaries or whatnot
    .........long-spear units rely on spear-wall to become combat effective but should be able to compete in infantry battles as long as order is maintained
    .........sword units merely need to be braced to stay combat effective during frontal clash
    .........sword units can stay combat effective in disorderly fashion unless flanked or rear-charged or cav-charged
    .........units march and turn faster whilst in loose formation
    .........2-handed shock units (like axe-men, polearms, other 2h-hewing-wpns) gain melee bonus in loose order
    .........(in turn, as is the case with current iterations, loose order should still decrement bracing/charge resistance)
    .........animated models should still face towards enemy force in closest proximity, even if not directly engaged and moving (ie whilst disengaging)
    .........and/or perhaps a fighting-retreat order as a dedicated command

    * re-introduce napoleon style skirmisher positions - akin to company of heroes' cover system;
    ..obviously elements need to accommodate in scale to include ultra unit-size
    ......* (deploying adaptively behind fences, barricades,
    ......* dug-ins,
    ......* bamboo-walls
    ........and other deployables,
    ......* inside buildings (like infantry were able to in napoleon),
    ......* inside/behind dense vegetation
    ......* along river banks) et c

    * restore morale shock or emphasize morale (like in 3kings records mode)
    .........morale in recent historical titles (except 3kings) is mere flavour but largely irrelevant. morale as in napoleon and shogun 2 was on point,
    .........decisive and rewarding
    .........later titles since rome ii noticeably lossed some edge by being grindey on the wrong places.
    .........even ****-poor militia units will occasionally fight to the last man whether be it ai with bonus cheats or even mp! this is dull!

    * pls keep saga troy's task/usage oriented unit categories over that r/p/s for future titles and rather expand on attributes that emphasise
    ..usage and principles rather than r/p/s alignment

    ......* for the purpose of variety i rly see no need or justification that mid-tier sword can punch upwards against comparative or more expensive spear units
    .........and heres why

    .........first off - there IS A REASON why with proper challenge (mp)
    .........with the exception of throw-away / low tier, spears mid tier but particularly high tier have no place to be useful
    .........and they even still struggle to beat nomad-style cavalry set-ups!
    .........in an environment of soft-anti-cav, and under current r/p/s paradigm mid-tier and elite spear are a failed investment and
    .........simply put not competitive outside anti-nomad roles
    .........shogun 2 was in both regards different in that r/p/s against cav was hard and anything upper-tier spears were still viable as front-line infantry duty
    .........with the proper vet upgrades even yari-sams were viable. despite the limited roster, shogun 2 was the most tactically diverse mp experience
    .........(bar wh which is so much different to traditional formula and due its generous setting i dont count for obvious reasons)
    .........ppl complained rightfully about kiting armies but kiters were traditionally low skill and any semi-experienced player with balanced setup
    .........would beat kiters regularly and rushers/spammers alike with the same army. even as r/p/s was even more pronounced - all infantry were viable
    .........and in the end usage dictated the flow of the match and who is victor whereas in most successive titles army selection dictated the flow of battle

    .........for the sake of tactical variety im convinced
    .........the best place for low- and lower-mid-tier swords is not as regular battle line (straight outclassing non-sword infantry)
    .........(and which i do not mean to exclude them as line infantry either) but for ideal role AS IRREGULARS in AMBUSH and difficult terrain
    .........long spears on the other hand need ideal ground and are only strong in ordered formation,
    .........veteran spears should be able to push offensively
    .........but regardless of tier quality, spears rely on spearwall to be combat effective
    .........whilst long spears/pikes are compromised in combat effectiveness outside of it
    .........short spears (halberds, royal guards et c.) should behave like hybrid and draw swords/side-arms wherever appropriate anyway
    .........different period as well require distinction obviously
    .........for instance spear formation works differently inthe form of a saxon shield wall
    .........compared to greek classical phalanges who interlocked shields / or successor sarissas who stacked sarissas of different length
    .........but as a principle / as a general idea it is applicable upon spearmen
    .........whilst being less combat effective outside formation, in phalanx, shield-wall, spears r restricted in movement
    .........putting them at tactically disadvantaged place verse ARMOURED sword units - even applicable if sword units do not outmass spear units
    .........together with the trend of soft r/p/s against cav that settled with rome ii,
    .........(in recent titles, nomad/horde cavalry can defeat dedicated anti-cav spear cores solely by maneuvre / micro)
    .........i see the idea of spear cheese dominating the skirmish or locking cav out of the engagement seriously jeopardized
    .........for these reasons i neither see it necessary nor warranted to have even cheaper sword units outright frontally beat spear units in an intact formation)
    .........grizzled veteran legionaries had trouble dealing with some greek fricken citizen boys
    .........until disorder tend to erode the greek formations (due of poor drill) and gaps formed which the legionaries promptly exploited by FLANKING the sarissas
    .........force the player to activate their brains and use sword units TACTICALLY instead of have em try win at the unit selection screen
    .........having swords should just as much require brain activity as any other unit category
    .........weak players complain about corner camping pike spam but even remotely experienced players will not lose to pike/spear cheese
    .........imo its a cardinal mistake that CA ever listened/tended to such complaints trivializing the skirmish to the most base denominator
    .........im just a mediocre player and i never lost to a corner camper ever since about a decade ago back then in shogun 2 when i was new to mp
    .........for the sake of tactical variety, mid-tier+ spears need to be viable as a standard frontline infantry formation like they were in shogun 2
    .........they already have tactical disadvantages in exchange for soft anti-cav
    .........only ARMOURED swordsmen should be able to stand frontally against a spear formation and perhaps outgrind them
    .........not as is the case in 3kings some lightly armourd saber infantry with diddly small shields head-on beat heavily armoured ji infantry by quite some margin
    .........- and its even poor to watch how some almost fully clad ji halberd gets dismantled by mini-shield and sabre

    ......* alternatively putting charge-reflection-against-all on spear formations would as well improve tactical variety to the skirmish
    .........if two-handed infantry r plenty and spear infantry a soft counter since 2-handed rely much on initial charge (and their armour-break)
    .........this would also require more attention from the player to use charge purposefully instead spam charge mindlessly against the next formation
    .........two-handed (shock-troopers) beat >standard shield & swords beat >spear formations beat >two-handed (shock-troopers)

    * add proper emphasized LoS (like arena tw, [wargaming or any other game titles with tactical elements in it] did)
    ......* more strict and developed
    .........skirmishers, light units, light/medium horse, general's bodyguard count as scouting units
    .........front units screen other units to the back/behind from an opposite observer
    ............* this alone enables a lot of tactical games that is simply not possible with forced intel
    .........landmarks such as hills and sentry towers grant sight bonus and thus naturally pose contesting areas - because why not ^^
    .........unit details dont get revealed unless upon closer inspection or within sufficient range of scout-trait units
    .........restricting LoS might seem gamey but a majority of tactical maneuvres r not applicable with near perfect sight/intel
    .........games with over-generous LoS tw skirmished play out like simplified chess in r/p/s format - thats how fundamental LoS is
    .........no deception, no diversionist maneuvres (which responsible for a great number of decisive outcomes where a straight cannae reenactment not feasable)
    .........example of deception is hiding elite units behind skirmishers/low-tiers to the consequence of appearing weaker on that segment due to LoS obstruction
    .........or leading attacking units over a ridge, only to trap them into ready positions et c.;
    .........or even something as simple as faking some cavalry presence at a certain place and moving it to the opposite flank or reserve
    .........with strict LoS more room for exciting tactical things would be possible but currently is realistically unavailable due to current LoS
    .........example of diversionist maneuvre
    .........is leaving a glimpse/trace of a small force moving to a visually obstructed flanking position in hopes of inducing the impression in the observer
    .........that some major flanking maneuvre is in order thus if wrong countermeasures were taken,
    .........the reactionist overstretches thus opens themself up to a frontal assault out of a false sense of necessity
    .........another example
    .........leaving a curtain of frontliners preferably at a defensively strong position (hille, bottleneck, bridge) to leave the impression of a strong presence there
    .........(the English way of sitting out her enemies like at hastings, crecy, agincourt, waterloo) while a large portion secretly moves out for a pincer/flank
    .........(one english pendant of that would be the battle of naseby i guess)
    .........once some enemy movement has been spotted the player should get paranoid about trying to get some better intel about the movement
    .........determine a path to walk them spotters (skirmishers, light horse) to a decent scouting spot without them getting intercepted or worse, ambushed
    .........all while the enemy player tries to annoy his sparring mate with light horse and skirmishers

    ......* instead:
    .........* tactical foreplay (positioning/skirmish) is most of the time degraded to r/p/s alignment followed by micro scale hammer-anvil rear charges
    .........* no care whilst moving across the terrain, no need for scouting parties or tactically sound battle formations or positioning
    .........* if skirmishing is not skipped entirely, rather resembles a material war with little surprises unless massive micro error
    .........* flanking is trivial and if contested seldomly has potential for surprise interception

    ......* paradoxically, with default unit cap (20) the player still is at a decent position to guesstimate her/his current disposition with imperfect intel
    .........which begs the question, what keeps CA wary to apply consequent and effectual LoS rules?
    ......* pls reconsider LoS as of current formats. feature is largely irrelevant but has such great potential; other tactical/strategy games use it for a reason!
    .........at least, CA finally seems to acknowledge the tactical freedom and hence importance of shrouded spaces
    .........by emphasizing more terrain features and hiding skills like in saga troy
    .........which i think is only a small step in the right direction but imo THE RIGHT DIRECTION nonetheless (faction as well as unit balance in troy is wonky though)
    .........what i would find exciting to see is if all units were able to hide
    .........but skirmisher / light units have different sight radius and detectability rating/range than medium as do heavy relative to medium;
    .........hiding either requires loose formation or disband shield formation + poor bracing
    .........(which puts spear infantry at a poor place since they rely on formation fighting to be effective and otherwise have poor charge anyway)

    - i think these are all fun elements/progressions that dont over-burden the player or go against the flow of core tw authenticity
  • aiyouaiyou Registered Users Posts: 169
    edited February 2020
    I think the problem with unit balance involves two aspect: 1. Unit Interaction. 2.Unit Viability

    1. Expend Fire Unit reform tree, which should requires more time to develop. They're way too cost-effective. Viability issue.

    Add Stirrup as technology after Barded Mounts. Move Cataphract from Shock Warfare to Barded Mounts, Move Heavy Cataphract to Stirrup.

    2. Rework Jade Dragon. Viability issue. A Wood/Fire hybrid. I would assume that Jade Dragon = anti-cav cav. However, it's just a cav with more HP, so a worse version of Cataphract.

    3. Rework Pearl Dragon. Viability issue. A mystery unit that I found no use of. How about give them a long sword, podao zhanmadao, etc

    4. Lower speed of fire cavs. Interaction issue. Heavier terrain/forest for fire cav. Although in theory, water unit should work against fire cav. In actual gameplay, fire cav can tank arrows shots before range gets close (which then water unit will stop fire and run), or fire cav can just move through forest to hide from arrows.

    Post edited by aiyou on
  • NoXlenSNoXlenS Registered Users Posts: 11
    edited February 2020
    Thanks for all the hard work you guys do!

    Some Campaign / UI Suggestions?

    1. Let us preview the effects/bonuses of characters in an occupied role. At the moment we have to kick out the current incumbent before we can preview the bonuses. I.e. the faction heir needs to be removed before we can even preview what another heir's bonus would be.

    2. Let us swap and move administrators around to different cities without first kicking them out of office.

    3. Give us a tooltip when we mouse over faction flags. Some of them are hard to identify factions especially when its sometimes just the character that differs in the flag design.

    4. Let the faction leader be changed / abdicate the position similar to the faction heir.

    5. Update MoH mechanics for other factions besides Liu Hong.
    - Tooltips like Prime Minister reference a role that isnt explicitly used anymore post the MoH update, it should reference the rank of the 2 minister roles now.
    - Empire subjects can't be annexed (even at a cost) with other non Liu Hong empires
    - Empires dont have war-coordination with empire subjects with other non Liu Hong empires
    - We should be able to invite factions into an empire even if they are in a coalition / alliance (similar to vassalising)
    - Other empires should be able to abdicate their thrones similar to how it was done before

    With most of the empire mechanics limited to Liu Hong, at the moment its better to avoid empire-ing entirely and vassalise or join in an alliance with other factions instead.

    6. Use prestige as "currency" for certain actions, i.e. commissioning weapons or armor , or even trying to coerce generals in other factions to join you. Similar to the WH2's dwarves runeforge or Empire Prestige
  • BaulthazarBaulthazar Registered Users Posts: 30
    edited February 2020
    I do agree with what was mentioned about archers. I am now using Blue Generals with Brilliant or high Cunning in battles in different ways such as shooting at routing units so that they do not come back to the battle. This does help give them more use as the fight dwindles down.

    The AI is pretty clever with how they approach an army with cav and I find my ji or halberd units microing to be a bit more to find good positions to remove them from the fight. So I am enjoying how this challenge is presented from previous TW games.

    I am loving the Diplomacy system for all the options it gives. However I do have a few concerns.

    Spies are a big investment and require time and thought to get any use out of them. I find adoption of characters will remove the spy option from them and not sure why this was implemented. I figure it was to remove the ability to quickly get into the ruling family tree for quick use of that list of spy actions? The RNG to get a spy into any feasible office to get any use out of it seems unattainable.

    The distant relative feature seems a bit wonky and disorganized and within the first 80 turns if you are not on top of it you can be related to all of China. Marriage becomes an option you do not use late in the game. Divorce with children causes a spouse to be a distant relative. The option to remarry or marry someone else in that ruling family is thus removed. Not all characters in the ruling family are listed still. I understand how confusing and difficult ancestry and family lines is to organize. Whole websites dedicated to this have a system that might be worth looking into.

    I do still think the crossbowmen with higher range is a bit absurd and should fall in line with 180 or 200 range like most other units. I do not know how this would effect balance but if there is any balance reason to reduce its range it would make it more realistic.

  • JuchuJuchu Registered Users Posts: 2
    Use Jade Seal as Liu Hong faction's initial prop.
    Add exclusive weapons and props for generals.
    Raise the walls of high-level cities and increase outer cities and moats.
  • nephlitenephlite Registered Users Posts: 407
    Right. It is strange that Emperor Liu Hong starts without the Jade Seal.
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