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Issues with Cao Cao diplomacy and manipulate.

StormlessUKStormlessUK Registered Users Posts: 1
I absolutely love this game but I have just started a campaign with Cao Cao and twice have I already been punished for not following the storyline and suffered weird diplomacy issues from the start.


Not long into the game, Tao Qian ( I think that's how you spell it) kills Cao Cao's father and the game prompts you to declare war or get them at a later point, remaining friends for now. This was the first frustrating thing that happened to me as I had already from the start of the game cultivated a good relationship with the faction. I actually like following the storyline, but because of the effort I put into the relationship, I decided that killing my father wasn't enough to break our bond of friendship. My first question, however, is why does this still happen when you are best friends with the faction? Surely the game can detect that something is a bit weird here. Why would Tao Qian kill Cao Cao's father if they are allies??

The second issue I'm having is with Cao Cao's 'manipulate positive/negative' playstyle. To summarise it, I have two factions currently at war with me who still were best buddies and still show positive ratings towards my faction. Two allies who again, I had spent time making a good relationship in order to form alliances. Suddenly they just decide to wage war on me out of the blue. The two factions in this instance are Yuan Shao and Yan Baihu.

Another really frustrating diplomatic element is that you can't attempt negotiations with certain factions and have it fail. The game has a 'make this work' button, which personally I feel removes some of the charms of trying to guess what the AI needs in order to be swayed. Whilst I do like the 'make it work' option for some things, I feel there should be some kind of sway % where fewer offerings could still produce the desired results. Total War Warhammer does this already, so not sure why this game is different.

At this point, I'm a bit disappointed with Cao Cao's campaign. It really feels as though the diplomacy, manipulation and proxy wars are just lifeless and don't really work to change what the game is trying to throw at you. Perhaps it's an AI problem or something. Personally, I think that there is an opportunity for a really unique style of play here with less military focus and more diplomacy etc, but that just isn't happening right now and the whole game is frustrating given that my best friends are attacking me constantly and can't be reasoned with.

Does anyone else have these issues or perhaps feel I am missing something here?


  • kk107kk107 Registered Users Posts: 176
    For the first part , initial dilemma almost always happen. For cao song dieing it's something tao qain can't control.

    Lorewise I believe cao song was killed so he could be robbed since he was wealthy
  • bli-nk#6314bli-nk#6314 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 5,981
    edited January 2021
    That dilemma with Tao Qian is historical and as CaoCao you decide if you believe Tao Qian was behind it or responsible for failing to stop his subordinates from acting. Many historians feel CaoCao used the event to eliminate rivals in Xu and squash Tao Qian's power while appearing legitimate as CaoCao at that time was allied with Yuan Shao and did not have many 'acceptable' targets to expand his territories as he was nominally serving the Han and had only Yellow Turbans and recalcitrant warlords to fight.

    In the game, the dilemma occurs fairly early, long before CaoCao had reached the position of power CaoCao actually historically held that allowed him to focus on Tao Qian with a powerful army not to mention a lot of the map geography is wrong around CaoCao's position and the game also forces Yuan Shao and CaoCao to turn against each other years earlier than they did historically.

    In terms of elder respect and ancestor worship, ancient China was huge on both so CaoCao had to react in some way to his father's death to maintain respect but while he historically used it as an excuse to attack Xu to train up his army and gain some territories, you as CaoCao could easily choose to blame Kong Rong, Yuan Shu, or some other warlord/governor for being part of a conspiracy to kidnap Cao Song to control CaoCao that went wrong or something similar.

    When you are doing diplomacy you have to look at the faction leader's personality AND consider their mechanics. Yan Baihu leads a bandit faction which other faction can bribe to attack you. Due to the faction mechanics they will NEVER be reliable- your best hope is to simply bribe them first 2-3 times in a row vs enemies you will also fight and then eliminate or vassalize them which is the only sort of secure way you have dealing with a bandit faction.

    Yuan Shao has a faction mechanic that allows forming Alliances from game start (not necessary to attain higher prestige ranks like other factions) and can also vassalize more readily due to lineage and captain retinue's which vault Yuan Shao to a higher military power ranking that intimidates nearby factions. Yuan Shao's personality is also arrogant and does not brook competitors. You can cozy up to Yuan Shao and join his Alliance or become a vassal or significantly outpower him but anything else will lead to war and it is quite difficult to outpower Yuan Shao without some extreme RNG or targeting him immediately.
    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” Mark Twain
  • Vin362#6699Vin362#6699 Registered Users Posts: 1,543
    edited January 2021
    As the others have said if you follow Cao Cao's story you will eventually be at war with Yuan Shao in fact after defeating Tao Qian the next objective is to defeat Yuan Shao (or Song if he reached the rank of Duke), the text is small but it pretty much mentions how Yuan Shao and Cao Cao were friends but sometimes friendships fall apart.

    Yan Baihu is a bandit faction and probably shouldn't be trusted as I have seen him break non-aggression pacts on and off again whenever it suits him.

    I think for proxy wars they will probably come in handy more in the mid to late game when there are more established factions so you can either help defeat the weaker faction or apply pressure to the stronger one, instead of using it on a minor one settlement faction against another.
    Post edited by Vin362#6699 on
    Supporter of Shu-Han, I wish Total War Three Kingdoms had a Three Kingdoms start date, rider of Kislev, admiral of The Awakened and Elector Count of Shu-Han
  • MasterSlayeXMasterSlayeX Registered Users Posts: 1,004
    No matter what way you look at it Cao cao held tao qian responsible (i don’t think he was in on it but it was an ex yellow turban . I think he’s with gong du or huang Shao at the start ? Zhang something who killed Cao song to rob him ) so the fight with tao qian . Though I kind of understand where you come from too considering on the other side of things . Liu bei can flat out refuse to fight Cao cao and gain friendship with him but lose it with tao qian
  • Rewan#2358Rewan#2358 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 4,900
    edited January 2021
    I found that the AI will punish very heavily over-expansion / over-extension. I found it noticeable in Normal compared to every previous title. In the highest difficulties it becomes even more flagrant. You don't even need to be a "military threat" to be considered as one by the AI, hold too much territory for what seems right to your neighbours or just act too aggressively and you invite disaster. (Sometimes you have to run for dear life : https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/254639/revenge-is-a-dish-best-served-cold - and sometimes it's just okay to accept to become someones lapdog - for a time)

    There are still problems with diplomacy. But overall it makes sense : if you are a threat people will try to curb you. Once you become a non-factor factions will naturally be less hostile. (But you can also just ally - not NAP, straight up ally - with the strongest dog in the pack and get carried since factions will be less likely to pick a bone with two threats compared to one). However you'd do well to remember that a strong ally can turn on you when faced with prospects of greatness.

    Of course there's always some frustration when a good friend turns hostile because you just seemed like an easy prey. But that's life. Let's not lie : you'd do the same. (read attacking a very friendly faction but that's super weak)

    you can't attempt negotiations with certain factions and have it fail

    Which is great, clarity was always something I found missing for good diplomacy. I hated Shogun 2 "Maybe we can come to an agreement" (which usually meant : give us all of your gold, all of any future gold, access to your land, all your sons as hostage oh and some tea as well.)

    But I guess that's a design thing and it's very much about personal preference.

    My personal collection of hazardous tests and quickfixes (yes this is a link).
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    Balance enthusiast, I like tinkering and messing with stuff and values. Cool heads prevails !
  • Vin362#6699Vin362#6699 Registered Users Posts: 1,543
    One way I managed to destroy an alliance is by boxing my ally in with no where else for them to expand they broke off our alliance and declared war on me, they can also become a vassal to another faction if you do not make them yours first.
    Supporter of Shu-Han, I wish Total War Three Kingdoms had a Three Kingdoms start date, rider of Kislev, admiral of The Awakened and Elector Count of Shu-Han
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