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My thoughts on Thrones

MarkroxMarkrox Posts: 176Registered Users
I thought I would summarise my experience with the Steel and Statecraft patch for Thrones here on the forums, partially because I am enjoying my current campaign, but also to provoke discussion that may prove useful for the devs. For context, my current campaign is Campaign:VH/ Politics:N/ Battles:N with Northymbre.

I'll start with the main focus of the patch; Estates. I've played every iteration of Estates so far, and I feel this one has the most impact. The previous iterations felt like something added on to give loyalty some flavour, whereas now, the Nobles request particular estates, and their affinity with them is reflected in a minor bonus. This is a huge improvement, as it feels more rewarding to consider who should take what Estate, because loyalty isn't the only factor. I will say I had a few odd requests early on, I had perhaps 5 farming estates, and was getting requests for 3 farming estates. I'm not certain why the first requests were so big, but perhaps it would feel more thematic and balanced to get bigger requests as your nation grows. A noble with no lands requesting 50% of the farming estate in a kingdom seems extreme. I personally would love a reminder when a request is about to expire, I unintentionally rejected a couple of requests because I misjudged the expiration turn. Minor complaint however, the new system is great - stick with it.

The next change I noticed was the recruitment change. My initial reaction was that this would take away some of the "rush" of getting another huscarl unit early in a campaign when the chance is a meager 5% and make the game feel more robotic or automated, but in reality the change didn't effect my compositions or enjoyment over the previous system, and I did enjoy the effect it had upon whether I leant towards the English or the Danes. After playing with it some time, it actually felt more involved than the old system. As with Estates becoming a more complex decision of loyalty vs estate buffs, being able to make a meaningful choice here, with pros and cons to both sides is fantastic.


"Traits" was the other big change in this patch. Them impacting Estate bonuses is the master stroke of this patch, and whoever came up with that should be congratulated. However I think one area where the traits could use some work are wives. Most of the traits are well designed with positives and negatives, but quite a few are entirely negative and just encourages rerolling the dice until you get what you want. It would be much easier to stomach -2 loyalty if there was a hefty upside to it. Pros and cons.

Going on from loyalty, loyalty dilemas, especially the action of an army general declaring themselves king of an independent kingdom feel very odd. Armies are famously loyal to their generals, and I doubt a general would instigate a rebellion without knowledge that his army was on board with the idea. To split the army 50/50 is strange, and something I've not witnessed historically (feel free to enlighten me). This results not in a dangerous situation, but in a bloodbath as two half armies murder themselves out of existence, the only real effect is the character leaving your faction. At the very least, harder difficulties should make the whole stack stay with the general, to give them a real chance at carving out their own kingdom and becoming a threat to the player.

Finally I wanted to mention events. I really feel this part of the game could be expanded upon without devoting huge resources to Thrones, while benefiting the game greatly. Events should revolve around your leader to add flavour and give context to some of the traits gained. For example, if I randomly gain the trait "Insane"... why do I gain it? Tell a story, and fire off a small event chain where I can make choices based on my insanity! Give me a chance to cure it or make it worse. If my king is victorious over a rival, how does he react? The premise of a saga is a deeper look at the characters that defined the era. Build upon that with events. What exists already is great! Build upon it!

Summary

Thrones is a good game, and I genuinely think it will be well regarded after some additional time. It had the unenviable task of following the warhammer games and being marketed to a huge amount of people who joined the series blasting orcs apart with magic and dragons. I hope we haven't seen the last Thrones update, and would love to see a DLC to add depth at some point, similar to what Rome 2 received. Abandoning it would be a mistake, it would set a precedent for what Saga titles are, and how much post launch support, quite a large incentive to stick with the main TW games.
“Politics is more dangerous than war, for in war you are only killed once.”

Comments

  • ExarchExarch Posts: 575Registered Users
    Nice review, thanks :)
  • AgonijaAgonija Posts: 3Registered Users
    Thanks for good review of game, Markrox i will try Thrones, it is sale now anyway :)
  • tak22tak22 Senior Member Posts: 2,386Registered Users
    My latest campaign (East Engle, VH/H/H) estates have less impact on the game than before (even though when it does take effect it makes more sense than the somewhat random system before); politics in general has gone from being murder in the early game/irrelevant in the late game to simply being irrelevant all the time (ideally it would get harder to manage later in the game). >> Some positive change, but net negative.

    The recruiting changes have taken some of the fun out of the system (namely the excitement of when you get lucky and replenish a unit earlier than expected) as well as some of the challenge (when you're unlucky and just don't get a unit for a long time). And the way it was balanced, I spent a good chunk of the early game with elites being more available to me than levies, which is ridiculous. >> All changes for the worse.

    UI and traits are improved, but these are IMO the least relevant aspects of the game.

    All in all, Thrones is unfortunately a worse game after the patch than before.
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 21,188Registered Users
    edited February 6
    Markrox said:


    Going on from loyalty, loyalty dilemas, especially the action of an army general declaring themselves king of an independent kingdom feel very odd. Armies are famously loyal to their generals, and I doubt a general would instigate a rebellion without knowledge that his army was on board with the idea. To split the army 50/50 is strange, and something I've not witnessed historically (feel free to enlighten me). This results not in a dangerous situation, but in a bloodbath as two half armies murder themselves out of existence, the only real effect is the character leaving your faction. At the very least, harder difficulties should make the whole stack stay with the general, to give them a real chance at carving out their own kingdom and becoming a threat to the player.

    That actually depends on what kind of army they are leading. The Roman legions of the civil war era followed their leaders more than the state because the leader was the one who provided them with land and livelihood. When the Roman armies still consisted largely of citizen levies, this dynamic was missing and so civil wars less likely.

    They should maybe have some sort of chance system build in where every individual unit has different probabilities of following an usurper and maybe have traits that influence it too.

    As for recruitment, I think they need to massively lower the chance of the refill events to happen and prolong the cooldown for elites by about 5-10 turns.
  • tak22tak22 Senior Member Posts: 2,386Registered Users


    That actually depends on what kind of army they are leading. The Roman legions of the civil war era followed their leaders more than the state because the leader was the one who provided them with land and livelihood. When the Roman armies still consisted largely of citizen levies, this dynamic was missing and so civil wars less likely.

    They should maybe have some sort of chance system build in where every individual unit has different probabilities of following an usurper and maybe have traits that influence it too.

    As for recruitment, I think they need to massively lower the chance of the refill events to happen and prolong the cooldown for elites by about 5-10 turns.

    Could be interesting to have a system where the general's influence (or general's influence vs. ruler's influence) determines the % of men who go with him; it would also help, perhaps, to give whole units to both sides and only divide up a few of them. Then, even if it ended up 50/50 one might still avoid the aforementioned 'bloodbath' if, e.g., one side got the heavy infantry and the other got the cav and archers.

    Re: recruitment - they need to increase the base pool size for levies, and make them replenish maybe 1-2 turns faster; retinue need +1 base pool size, and I agree elites need to replenish MUCH more slowly. It would also help to introduce a variable range so that replenishment isn't SO boringly like clockwork, and maybe add in some traits for faction leaders (maybe others) which could increase the chance of early/late replenishment for units.

  • slapnut1207slapnut1207 Posts: 674Registered Users
    Well, sometimes in revolts, the soldiers under a rebelling Roman general's command would sometimes
    murder him to save themselves.
    In Hoc Signo Vinces

  • norseaxenorseaxe Posts: 402Registered Users
    Great review markrox. I couldn't agree with you more. I actually hope they keep working on this game. I wish they would give us a dlc. I would really like to play a Viking raider faction have them raid for slaves and money. I think that would be a fun faction to play go around british isles burning and raiding as you go until you decide to settle. I wish they would add Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland. I also wish they would add in the option to colonize places like Iceland. I know that won't add all of that in this game maybe that will be another saga lol. Great game though
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