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Vampire Coast campaign re-balance suggestions.

(I also posted this in the Immortal Empires section as I'm not sure where this should be posted. Apologies for the double post.)

The faction has a lot of issues at the moment. The main ones are: most building chains being useless, coves being hard to plant and harder to get benefit from, the sea playing no part in faction mechanics, the treasure hunts being worthless/ unreasonable, and most of the unit roster being weak (addressed in another post).


Most building chains are useless:
I'll break this into 3 parts. Major settlements, minor settlements and pirate coves. In the breakdown sections buildings are in order of importance.

A quick word about horde buildings: horde buildings are good.
The only building I think could be improved is the growth building which could give more since +2, +4 and +6 are very small compared to the +5 you can get in research, +5 you can get from perks and +5 you can get from siren ancillaries.
(Though actually, I would recommend increasing the unit experience per turn or recruit rank for units hired from the ship to make this upgrade worthwhile after getting the main building to tier 5. (Maybe 100 exp per turn per tier and/or +1 recruit rank per tier. So a maximum of 300 exp per turn, or a maximum of +3 recruit ranks for units recruited from the horde.))


Major settlements:
Good to build:
- Main settlement buildings (up to 500 gold and unlocks upgrades to other buildings).
- Ports (main source of income, up to 800 gold and +4% factionwide port income.)
- Growth building (+20, 30, 40 growth at tier 1-2-3 and +3 public order. Helps speed up progress on main settlements and ports.)
- Buried Treasure (Tier 1, costs 1000, gives 100 gold and adds 500 to the cursed treasure rite, which can be used every 15 turns. (equal to 34 gold per turn.))
- (if available) Gold mine (150 gold, only one tier at tier 2).
- Buried Treasure (Tier 2 and 3.)

(On Buried Treasure: higher levels aren't worth it unless you have money kicking about as they need a lot of turns to pay off upgrades. Each upgrade gives +50 gold per turn and cost: 1500 (30 turns), 2000 (40 turns), 3000 (60 turns) and 4000 (80 turns))

Slight benefits if you have money to throw around:
- Walls (better defense)
- Resource buildings (-10% building cost is alright if you have a lot still to build in this province.)
- Public order buildings (up to +6 public order (only good for adding the growth bonuses) and up to 60 gold.)
- Low Lighthouses (Basic tier 2 only, gives +3 public order)
- Artillery building (provides army abilities during defense)
- Buried Treasure (tiers 4&5 to turn loose cash into constant income)

Never worth building:
- Recruitment buildings (pointless due to horde buildings and raise dead pools.)
- Corruption buildings (pointless due to there already being enough corruption from characters and horde building.)


So from this you can see that basically the only buildings that are really worth it are the buildings you have no choice in building, the rare gold mine and the income buildings. Everything else is supplemental in some sense. Either increasing defense, which is only worthwhile to protect the previously mentioned buildings, or increasing growth, which is only useful to help upgrade the previously mentioned buildings slightly faster.

There's really no player thought or choice involved. You don't have to prioritize certain buildings or build differently depending on where the settlement is located or what you want to get from the settlement.

The resource buildings are mostly worthless since recruit costs don't matter when you're using the raise dead pool or when recruiting through the horde buildings since you'll almost always be in enemy territory or freshly claimed territory. The coast also have aversion with nearly every other faction, which makes trade deals harder to get or not worth signing (especially as The Dreadfleet since you'll get missions to go to war with people and that may require you to break treaties).

After the recent 2.1 patch the buried treasure buildings are barely worth building. Especially at higher ranks. I hope there are already plans to improve these due to removing both the buffs they gave in Total War Warhammer 2 (+10% income from all buildings in the local province per tier and +5%-30% income from ports in the local province) and the new buffs that they gave for a short time in Total War Warhammer 3.

(I'll make some recommendations at the end of this section)


Minor settlements:
Good to build:
- Main settlement (unlocks upgrades to other buildings. (Gold is negligible)).
- Ports (main source of income, up to 400 gold and +1% factionwide port income.)
- Slave Pits (up to 200 gold)
- (if available) Gold mine (150 gold, only one tier at tier 2.)
- Growth building (+20, 30, 40 growth at tier 1-2-3 and +3 public order. Helps speed up progress on main settlements and ports.)

To fill empty slots or replace growth buildings once settlements are fully grown:
- Walls (better defense)
- Public order buildings (+6 public order to replace +3 from growth building and a little income (up to 40 gold))

Never worth building:
- Resource buildings
- Recruitment buildings (pointless due to horde buildings and raise dead pools.)
- Corruption buildings (pointless due to there already being enough corruption from characters and horde building.)


Being limited to 4 slots already there's not much as much to think about with minor settlements. Unlike the major settlement, the income building is actually worth building in minor settlements, however, it is the only static building worth building in minor settlements. The other two worth building are ports and gold mines, which aren't available in all settlements. Again, everything else feeds into building or protecting these specific building chains.

Recruitment buildings are still worthless, but even more so due to them all having at least 4 tiers, meaning you would be unable to upgrade them fully if you built them in a minor settlement.

Resource buildings are less useful here as there're simply better things to be built. The small bonuses they provide are worth very little and the trade goods don't provide much even when you have trade deals.


Pirate Coves: (not worth building but if you do build them anyway)
Good to build:
Smugglers coves (95% of the time, 200 gold, 3% research rate)
Robber's hideout (5% of the time, in major settlements that have large amounts of income.)

Not worth it:
Pirate den (hero recruit capacity is nice but not worth the trouble of planting a pirate cove and giving up the advantages of the money making buildings.)

Never worth it:
Corrupted Tavern (Corruption is unnecessary and a waste of a slot.)


Pirate coves are burdensome to plant. There are two ways to plant a cove: with an army or with a hero.

If you're using an army to plant a cove then it's rare that it's not simply more effective for you to take the settlement. Since you can only create coves in a settlement with a port you're passing up a factionwide increase to port profits that owning a port gives as well as the income from the port itself (which, as I said earlier, is the best source of money for the coast). You're rarely waging war with people far from your own territory and it's often better to wipe out your enemies rather than planting harmless coves in their cities then leaving them to rebuild and mount a counter-attack. You also significantly harm the money making ability of a settlement that you sack, meaning it's a less effective way for you to benefit from the building that makes 50% of what a settlement is making.

The only time planting a cove is worthwhile is if you specifically set out to have a campaign where you don't take settlements. However, that's more of a player-driven challenge run similar to trying to play as a faction while only using cavalry or something, where you limit your hybrid faction to just its horde elements.

If you're using a vampire captain hero it's relatively easy to plant a single cove. It just costs come money. However, there is then a 15 turn cooldown on both your faction and that specific hero.

The faction cooldown increases the cost of planting further coves by +200%, which means they can cost 13000, a significant amount of money that is simply not worth spending on planting a cove. (Especially when you consider that you have to spend a further 2500 or 5000 to actually build something in the cove.)

Meanwhile the cooldown on the hero prevents them from planting any coves for 15 turns. This means that you have to send multiple heroes to plant multiple coves (with the increased cost). Something that's simply not really feasible since getting more hero capacity takes quite a while as you need a tier 5 port or a tier 4 main horde building. Sending a hero away for multiple turns just to plant a single cove simply isn't worth it when you could have them embedded in an army acting as a very effective spell caster.


My recommendations:

I think major and minor settlements would be a lot more interesting if players actually had buildings to prioritize and choose from. To do this I would recommend adding additional bonuses to many of the recruitment buildings and the corruption building. I would also recommend replacing the effect of resource buildings.

Barracks:
At tier 4 the building could increase the hero capacity of vampire fleet captain heroes by +1 and at tier 5 they could increase the recruit rank of fleet captains by +4. (Originally I had +2 to the recruit rank, but +4 is more in line with other factions.)
(The increase in capacity will incentivise this being built in major settlements and provide another way to get vampire fleet captain capacity besides the very limited ports and horde buildings. This will allow players to both send some out to establish coves and have some in armies.)

Ranged:
I'd recommend basically the same but for gunnery wights plus some local buffs to sweeten the pot, since gunnery wights aren't particularly powerful heroes.
- Tier 3, Recruit capacity +1 and "powder stores" (extra powder stays active until 50% ammo capacity) in this province
- Tier 4, Recruit rank +4 and "refined powder" (zombie deckhand gunnery mob, handgun variant, deck gunners, deck droppers, handgun variant and rotten promethean gunnery mob gain +20% range) in this province.
(To incentivise building this in both small settlements and large settlements. I don't think recruit rank alone would incentivise this being considered in minor settlements.)

Flying:
- Tier 1, add 2 bats to garrison.
- Tier 3, add 2 bats, 1 deck dropper (handguns) and 1 deck dropper (bombers) to garrison.
- Tier 4, add 2 bats, 2 deck dropper (handguns) and 1 deck dropper (bombers) to garrison.
- Tier 5, add 2 bats, 2 deck dropper (handguns), 1 deck dropper (bombers) and 1 Terrorgheist to garrison.
(No associated heroes in this chain but there are always very few flying units in garrisons, and they're generally not considered very powerful, so I don't think adding some as an extra garrison bonus is unreasonable. Numbers wise it's not excessive either with only 4 extra units for a minor settlement.)

Artillery:
- Tier 2, Zhulfbar 42-pounders army ability +2 uses in local province.
- Tier 3, Sartosa Grapeshot army ability +2 uses in local province, +1 unit of mortars added to the garrison.
- Tier 4, Norse Roar army ability +2 uses in local province. +1 use of Zhulfbar 42-pounders, Sartosa Grapeshot and Norse Roar in adjacent provinces.

Army abilities should be buffed. Currently they do 12 damage, armour piercing for the first and third. 10 damage, non-armour piercing for the second. This is very poor damage.
They should be increased to match equivalent spells like Stream of Corruption (lore of nurgle) which has 24 armour piercing damage, literally double and inflicting poison while only costing 5 winds of magic. Or Chillwind (lore of dark magic), which has 16 armour piercing damage and inflicts frostbite. Similarly, both the second and third abilities combined don't match a penumbral pendulum (lore of death) which does 36 damage (50% split).

With a 90 second cooldown on each ability, players stacking them up to about potentially 6 or so uses per battle still means they're not excessively powerful.

Monsters:
Basically the same as the vampire and gunnery wight changes I suggested. At tier 3 +1 recruit capacity for mourngul haunters. At tier 5 +4 recruit rank for mornghul hunters.
(While these changes would make it much easier to get a lot of these heroes, the upkeep and recruitment costs for the heroes would be a limiting factor.)

Corruption:
In addition to the corruption effects that are already there.
Tier 2: lesser summon drowned dead (same as the coast specific lore of vampires spell), army ability +1 uses in this province.
Tier 3: lesser summon drowned dead +2 uses in this province.
Tier 4: lesser summon drowned dead +2 uses in this province and +1 uses in adjacent provinces. Also summon denizens of the deep army ability (same as lore of the Deep spell) +1 use in this province, OR summon greater drowned dead (summons a single bloated corpse) +1 use in this province (potentially too powerful as it's essentially the equivalent of a warp bomb).
(Alternatively, instead of summoning spells, it could increase the "the dead rise again!" chance and amount of health healed by them in the province and adjacent provinces.)

Resource:
Add faction wide buffs like the warriors or chaos, but much weaker. Perhaps only values of +2 to various unit stats instead of +5, as the warriors of chaos have. This is due to the coast having 4 building slots, so they can build these without sacrificing much unlike the warriors of chaos who only get a single building slot.
Alternatively, there could be an option for resource buildings in pirate coves that grant factionwide buffs like those of the chaos warrirors, since they're hard to place, can only be placed in ports and have limited building slots.
(These replacements would be good because it would encourage the horde style gameplay of searching the map for specific high value resources. Especially with the cove option.)

With these changes I think the buildings that are currently considered useless would start to see use in minor settlements in place of walls and public order buildings. Making settlement management more interesting for players without making coast much stronger while also allowing for some more variety in play-style when it comes to heroes.

I would also like to see the buried treasure buildings improved again. They could also be used to encourage the the horde gameplay by having +1% income from sacking settlements and raiding factionwide per tier of the building.

Many of the bonuses I've suggested have either been hero related, for the previously mentioned reasons, or defensive. This is because the vampire coast is an aggressive faction without much of a reliable money source in the early game. Therefore having armies to guard all territory is usually not feasible. Their garrisons generally don't hold up very well either since many of their low tier units are meat shields or struggle to get a line of sight for their ranged attacks in settlement battles. Therefore some more defensive options would be good. By making those defense options army abilities, or giving the player units they wouldn't usually use, it makes the defense battles more fun than simply adding more or stronger units to the garrison.


In regards to pirate coves: I think they should have two slots. However I think you should only get to pick one from the money options and one from the utility options. I would also change the building effects slightly:

Both money buildings:
- +10 infamy reduced to +0 infamy. (due to their now being 2 building slots)
- Otherwise the same as they were before.

Pirates Rest:
- +20 infamy should be reduced to +10 infamy.
- The lord recruit rank +1 can stay.
- The mourngul haunter and gunnery wight +1 capacity should be removed.
- Replenishment should be enabled in the province and appropriate sea region.
- +5% constant casualty replenishment in province and sea region.
- +20% campaign movement range for allied armies when starting a turn in this province or sea region.

Corrupted Tavern:
- +20 infamy remains
- +5 local province corruption and +3 adjacent province corruption remain.
- -20% campaign movement range for enemy factions starting their turn in this province. (Maximum of -40% campaign movement range.)
- +5% enemy besieged attrition in this province and adjacent provinces. (Additive, should reduce siege time from 10 turns to 8 (7.5 really), for example.)

I also think think the faction cooldowns should be abandoned while the hero one becomes a 1 turn cooldown, during which any cove they build costs 100% more gold. The gold cost of planting coves is quite high already since you have to pay 3000 or so to set up the cove then another 2500 or 5000 to build a building. So I don't think a cooldown is really necessary. Especially since heroes have to travel between port settlements and can only produce one cove per turn at best.

Alright, that's the building section done.


The sea is bad:

The pirate coast is supposed to be all about the sea but the sea plays no part in their campaigns, other than that they start near the sea. In fact, being at sea is often bad for these factions. Here's why:
- You can't attack settlements and armies from the sea without embarking on land first which often costs all of your remaining movement points. This means it's simply more efficient to stay on the land rather than dip in and out of the sea.
- Battlefields don't spawn at sea. This means the raise dead pool is always the most basic and least useful when in a sea region.
- They get very few bonuses when fighting at sea. These bonuses are perks and are therefore not work taking in comparison to other perks.

My recommendations:
- Allow the pirate coast to embark and disembark anywhere, regardless of beaches. Beaches should have no additional movement cost, non-beaches should have the usual disembark movement cost.
- Battlefields should spawn at sea. Or the sea (as a world wide whole) accumulates dead and increases the quality of the raise dead pool everywhere. For example, 20,000 cumulative dead combatants at sea could unlock the first tier of a raise dead pool upgrade, with the final tier being at 200,000, at which point you could summon 2 rotting leviathans per raise dead pool, for example.
- Don't bother with specific 'on land' or 'at sea' bonuses. Just have universal ones.



Treasure maps:
This should be a much shorter section.

Currently the issues with treasure maps are:
- They spawn far away from the player
- You can only hold 6
- They're not worth much
- The riddles are annoying at times and have no replay value

As they are now, treasure maps simply aren't worth pursuing. They can spawn at the furthest point on the map from the player, putting them out of reach. You can only hold 6, which means you're going to stall quickly with a lot of very far away treasure maps. They're only worth 2000 gold and an item, not at all nearly enough to bother wasting multiple turns trying to get to them. The riddles are sometimes poor due to being able to apply to multiple areas in the highlighted target area. They're also static and point to the same location with the same clue, so a player only needs to figure them out once and they then know where a clue points in every campaign thereafter.

My recommendation for improving treasure hunting:
The game should issue short term (3-5 turn) missions to dig for treasure in nearby provinces. It could have somewhat more generic messages like "A captured enemy soldier revealed a nearby stash of wealth in a desperate bid to save himself. He's dead but the stash can still be claimed. Move quickly, as his compatriots will likely reclaim the goods upon hearing of his capture."
The rewards should be the same (about 2000 gold and a random equipment item).
The short term missions would mean that more can be issued without it hitting a cap. It also adds some urgency and might cause a player to choose whether to continue with their plan or veer off course to claim a treasure stash.
These changes would make the treasure hunting more relevant in every campaign, rather than an occasional hunt being relevant once or twice in a campaign when one happens to spawn near you.
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