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Thoughts about Upgrading Units, Recruitment of Units, and Peasants


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I am writing about what (I think) the situation right now might be and how it could look if there is a mechanic that allows the player to upgrade units. When I thought about that I also found some complications and issues that may arise with this. For sure I am not saying let’s do this because it sounds cool.


I will talk mostly about peasants and will be viewing two different situations.

The first is as I said earlier - “Hey, why my peasants are still peasants and what to do to improve them?” - Upgradeable Units

Let's see how Peasants look in KOH2

peasants.png.4e927504eb17b785709d5c346e4ef2f4.png

It says “Peasants are non-professional soldiers called upon to fight in desperate times and ...

With that, you could say that it makes perfect sense to have non-upgradable peasants in the game that you can hire and disband whenever you want and I can agree with that. That’s why I added the second option - Leave the peasants to be Peasants 4 Life! But with some benefits.

Upgradeable Units

For the purpose of this example, I’d like to change the term peasants to peasants recruited as soldiers or just Recruits. The goal is to have the option to keep and upgrade the unit until it reaches the most advanced level without deleting them.

Why do this?

First - It sounds just natural. If you are recruited as a soldier, there are most likely two options for you - either to die in battle or to get experience and become a better and better soldier over time. So staying a recruit for the rest of your days is not very likely.

Second - I don’t know if manpower is a concern in KOH2 because in KOH 1 wasn’t really. From the screenshot above I can see that just peasants cost 3 Manpower to hire and that is 3 times more vs. KOH1 so it looks that in Koh 2 Manpower may be a bit different. With that said if you already have the men recruited you should not spend manpower to upgrade the unit. The cost for upgrading in terms of gold/food could be also reduced - like 75% vs what you would pay if you recruit the unit, not that makes a huge difference but still…If the unit costs 2000, with 75% discount you save 500, not bad. If we have Manpower as a vital resource for our kingdom, disbanding units in order to hire more advanced units sounds like a waste - a terrible waste. 

Third - UX. I think that brings a lot of flavour to the game. The player could have the feeling that they hire real men from their kingdom, and keep them and improve them over time, not just unit slots that you could delete at any time without even thinking about.

Forth - This may be a dumb reason for someone but not for me  - It saves number of clicks - click(hover) select + click remove + click select + click hire + click select desired type of unit = 5 clicks

Click(hover) select + click upgrade + optional click to select type of unit = 2 + 1 Clicks


Setup

I think that's pretty straightforward. In the battle or/and by having a “Trainer” marshal skill units get XP points. When the unit gets enough XP the marshal would go to a town or castle and if in the province are already built the required building for the next level unit you will be able to click on the upgrade button

Here is a simple unit tree without going too much in detail. 

units-tree.thumb.jpg.98cf7af65f79e288fa5c3a5c995683be.jpg

The Green XP shows the points needed to upgrade, req - means buildings required to train or upgrade unit

Let's say recruits can get up to 100XP Once they get it you would be able to upgrade the unit to bowmen or swordsmen. Then with more XP, you can upgrade again and so on.

Would you be able to hire higher-level units directly?

Yes the cost will be slightly higher for recruitment and you will spend manpower

 Would you be able to disband units at any time?

Yes. You may have other reasons to do this.

What happens if you have a unit with some XP but you lose men - this sounds like a big issue.

For easier calculation, let's have the following example:

We have a unit of Recruits that could have a maximum of 100 XP and a maximum of 100 men. The actual stats are 70XP and 50 men. We go to a town and refill the unit with fresh recruits. 

What would be the XP value of the just recruited men? If they join with 0 XP, when we combine them all, we would have an average of 35xp - Not cool! How will you be able to upgrade a unit if you have to refill it with fresh men with 0XP? 

I can see a way to avoid that problem - to redesign the entire recruitment process and hire men, not units - but this is a topic for another day.


What happens when you disband a unit? 

Think about real life. The relationship between you and the unit is employer vs. worker. In this case, you hired men to fight for you. Disbanding them would mean that you leave them without work. In the end, you have unemployed soldiers that are also mad at you, or at least disappointed. From here I see two options. 

The first is to join or form a mercenary camp in the lands of your rivals with the hope that they would be hired and fight against you. - A mercenary camp popups in enemy lands or is refilled with more units/men, Or it’s manpower pool is increased - Don’t have any idea how mercenaries work in KOH2

The second is to join the nearest active rebel group. - The rebels get reinforcements.

 In both cases you may get a nasty message saying - "These ungrateful soldiers did this or that..", ...just to make you feel bad about your decisions.


Peasants 4 Life!

From the unit description - “Peasants are non-professional soldiers called upon to fight in desperate times …” For me that means that when the situation is so desperate you go to the villages and tell your subjects - “There is a war you must join the army and fight!” So in theory when you disband them at some point they should be more than happy to return to their wives and children and live in peace and grow fat in their farms and villages (if they live enough to see that day).

But in the game they are not called to serve their duty, they are hired as soldiers - Recruits so we go back to the previous scenario.

If they were called to war there should be an entirely different mechanic. I imagine there would be a button, for example in town or in the king or on the marshal menu that would say Call the peasants! And what will happen will be to see some men armed with whatever they have travel from the villages and go to the marshal or the king. And they join the army as extra number of fighting men, not unit slots from the slots menu. When you don't need them, click again on the same button and they are released.

Also, they may have weapons as well, some of them may have swords, others may be hunters and shoot pretty well. That’s details..

What could possibly happen if you click on that button besides that you will get some extra men with crappy battle stats?

You would probably spend some food and gold on click and your expenses and food consumption will be increased. There is also now the Peasantry class and if you click that imaginary button you would probably lose opinion points with them.

When you call the peasants there will be also fewer people left in the villages - mostly only women, children, elders (and the cowardly bastards of course) From here I see 2 negative possibilities for the person who clicked that button:

First, the work on the fields and farms will be slowed down - your provinces will have less income - This may not occur immediately but to build up over time - "Called to war peasants -  economy modifier" - starts from -1% and goes to -20% - why not?. 

Second - there are not any strong men left to defend the settlements, with less resistance the villages and the farms should be raided faster in game time by enemy armies or rebels. // Let's not go too much in detail about what could happen to the women left alone in villages during the war.

There should be a cool-down on that button for 1-2 hours for example after you released the peasants - Why not?

Something rings a bell from the earliest dev streams, someone said the more you stay in war the more your economy suffers. So it may work in a similar way, but right now the peasant is still a hirable unit and the peasant can be called to war not only in desperate times, but … anytime.

I think both Upgradable units and Peasants 4 Life could exist in the game because they involve completely different approaches and mechanics and could create unpredictable situations, problems or different strategies, but this may also to reduce the huge peasant armies to some level.

I know that this became a long one so if you reached this point, well thanks for reading. If you have some thoughts about that please jump in, I would be happy to read it.

Cheers!

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In terms of upgrade path for units in general - yes, I agree. The implementation itself... I don't know.

It appears that the main barrier to better units are buildings which are very expensive compared to a unit cost. As a result it could be a very long time before next unit tier gets available. Most of your peasants won't live long enough probably.

Second, if the current approach of "peasants are cheap but triple population cost" stays. It would be counter productive to train peasants up instead of 3 new units.

Third, I'm not sure I want to lock into a specific unit type, it could be the case what I had veteran spears for a long time, but now I want them to be cavalry. So I'm not sure if we need to follow a path by unit type since it is dramatically narrower to progress.

Fourth, I have an issue of runaway increasing advantages:

  • One player happens to get some wins and have more experienced unit
  • Other players do not
  • First player has increasing advantage by being able to convert experienced units to even better tier units
  • With that first player is able to win more battles against non experienced enemy and upgrade and train even more
  • Other players are getting more and more behind

It is especially true from Marshal skills perspective, but marshals are mortal, they lose all skills and exp over time. But units are not, potentially an veteran unit an go though all the game from day one and get only stronger and stronger never to die. I'm not sure how to deal with that if experience and veterancy can synergize with unit upgrades. I mean I've started with peasants, they got top veterancy but middle end game they are still just veteran peasants, But with upgrades we are looking at Feudal Knights veterans you know.

 

PS

For the peasants specifically, the solution I had in mind was  "exhaustion mechanics", peasant would be cheap, but they would start to desert over time so you could not keep them in check. They would stay at full strength for a short time but then start deserting from the unit. But it is not very relevant to unit upgrades discussion.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, William Blake said:

Second, if the current approach of "peasants are cheap but triple population cost" stays. It would be counter productive to train peasants up instead of 3 new units.

I didn't say that you have to train always the lowest possible unit level and train it. That would be inefficient in mid and late game. 

 

And maybe XP doesn't fit well in KOH and creates more bugs than helps. 

Look at the same process but ignore everything that involves XP. 

You hire Recruit in the beginning of the game because you usually don't have the required buildings and when you build them you go to town and upgrade the unit.

The cost would be the same as you would pay to recruit the unit but you save the manpower. If your unit has 50% health you may pay also 50% manpower to get a refilled upgraded unit. 

This idea is to replace the process of deleting unit that you don't want in order to replace it with something better and not to replace the entire recruitment process.

 

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Points I like:

Separate out peasants and recruits.  This is a great idea, I love the feel if gives to the units too. 

When you disband your units go into mercenaries or rebel groups, sounds like an amazing and cool idea!!! Absolutely approve.

Losing opinion points and or some economy with the peasantry when you call them up sounds great!!! I would also add an important point, that unlike recruits peasants shouldn't join mercenaries nor bandits.

Completely agree with William that pathing the unit upgrades so narrowly locks us in too much, it should only be a matter of building upgrades. 

Point I think are bad:

I very very very much disagree with having XP as a resource needed to upgrade your units. Lets not model off of Mount and Blade soo hard. I think its fine that what is needed is buildings and gold, and manpower. Do we really need a 3rd resource to develop units? I dont see the advantages of having XP as a necessary resource for upgrading. 

I think the XP should simply be tied to some sort of time alive (for the whole unit and not for particular soldiers in that unit) at a particular upgraded stage. So if a unit has spent 1 year as a Horseman then it will have a given amount of Xp. Upgrading, removes the XP bonus or sets it back by some degree, to give sorta realism, like "re-training". And it makes it realistic that the "upgraded recruit" will train with thier weapons over time and develop more Xp. (This also helps address Williams point about runaway highly trained army stacks)

Yes I can agree it seems somewhat unrealistic that newly replenished units get the same time alive Xp compared to a unit which never lost soldiers, but cest la vie. 

Actually, (thinking more on the problem) maybe tying the XP to soldiers and not to units "time alive", is the way to go, since in my system you dont need Xp to develop units into other classes. Makes battles interesting, cause a unit which fights but takes little casualties gets a big boost in XP, and a unit which fights and takes a ton of casualties gets a big decrease in XP after replenishment, but honestly I am starting to like that idea quite alot!!!!

 

I think you consider my points here and keep everything else you mentioned, and you got your self a pretty simple and nice unit system. 

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31 minutes ago, Ivory Knight said:

When you disband your units go into mercenaries or rebel groups, sounds like an amazing and cool idea!!! Absolutely approve.

So you want me to slain my units instead of disband so they won't create a rebel army in my provinces?

 

40 minutes ago, Ivory Knight said:

I very very very much disagree with having XP as a resource needed to upgrade your units.

Yeah, it should not be required, but it probably would be better if you spend XP while converting unit type, such that if you have 3 start unit it will lose a star or a level. Just to avoid training 5 star peasants and converting them to a 5 star feudal knights out of a blue.

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There is also posibility that they will keep the system from the first game.
In the first game, units received XP in in battles. Their veterancy status was indicated with one, two or three golden stars on portrait. As far as I know those unit didn't differ from standard units.
Perhaps now they will recive bonuses for those stars, something  like +2 to attack and defense...

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I do like the idea of being able to upgrade units, but I think calling peasents recruits would be strange since its two different things. Also, as Ivory Knight already said, I also don't like the idea that upgrades are "locked in" as in only archers can be upgraded to heavy archers. I think it would work great if upgrading units would lose them half of their XP (or maybe 75%) and it decreases the cost of the new unit by 50% of the old units cost and completly negates the population-cost.

Disbanded units joining rebels is another thing I'm wary of, since I think most people were happy to be able to go back home and continue their normal lives. Also, from gameplay-perspective, it feels rather punishing.

 

22 minutes ago, Menssie said:

Their veterancy status was indicated with one, two or three golden stars on portrait. As far as I know those unit didn't differ from standard units.

Stars did increase the statistics of the unit. Right from the game manual:

image.png.341bb0cbb896f0c4f457a3efce07b4f5.png

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Ivory Knight said:

unlike recruits peasants shouldn't join mercenaries nor bandits.

Indeed. Peasants will be happy to go home, recruits on the other hand would become unemployed soldiers 

9 hours ago, Ivory Knight said:

very very very much disagree with having XP as a resource needed to upgrade your units

Yes, after I posted and saw the first comments realized that combining XP and building requirements is very bad idea. Besides all said in the comments player will be very often in the annoying situation when have all required buildings to upgrade an unit but the unit doesn't have XP. So he will end up deleting the unit to recruit the better one.

But I haven't thought about that earlier. I can't edit my first post anymore so if someone reads it in the future, pls ignore everything that I am saying about XP in the process of upgrading the unit.

The XP itself could exist in the same way like Koh1 to give bonus in the stats of the unit.

 

8 hours ago, William Blake said:

you want me to slain my units instead of disband so they won't create a rebel army in my provinces?

So in your words 1st you fire your soldiers, then execute them to prevent anyone to become a rebel, lol

 

 

7 hours ago, Menssie said:

Their veterancy status was indicated with one, two or three golden stars on portrait. As far as I know those unit didn't differ from standard units.

You can see the difference in the battle stats in the rts battle when you hover over the unit

6 hours ago, Zerg said:

Disbanded units joining rebels is another thing I'm wary of, since I think most people were happy to be able to go back home and continue their normal lives. Also, from gameplay-perspective, it feels rather punishing

Here is the difference about the recruits and the peasants that I am talking about in the first post. The peasant is the one who works in the farm, or in the stable, or could be a hunter, a fisherman, etc. While the recruit is a person with an unknown background who made a decision to enlist in the army. /Well at least this is the way how I am seeing the things/ 

My main point is after you have become a soldier in medieval times, you would probably find this lifestyle more rewarding than doing peasants work, also in most cases you may not have anything else to return to if you lose your job as a soldier.

And that's why I am saying that these men would like to seek alternative ways to fight for money and most logical in game options that I see are becoming mercenaries or rebels.

And I don't imagine to be very punishing to the player. 

If there is a rebel nearby to get one unit reinforcement is not a huge deal. On the other hand if the AI starts disbanding units like crazy it may turn into a s%%% show, ha.

And, yes if the peasant is a real peasant like a farmer, fisherman, if you called them to war using the described mechanic in the first post in the section Peasants 4 Life, after you disband them they would be happy to get to their families as soon as possible.

Thank for the comments, guys.

 

Edited by BC Knight
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p2.png.1e98932f692561ee63cbf69f3f924215.pngp2.jpg.a6f61587eb18a4cf706e7b5e928f72e1.jpg

 

If I look close at this screenshot, it almost looks like there is a hierarchy order in these units. For example in the middle column I think we have the same type of unit - spearmen and the bottom one is a better version of the previous. So in my idea peasants would be LV0 and would upgrade to any type of LV1 units. After that, units from LV1 could be upgraded again to better versions of the same type of unit if you want. 

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If this was the case I would be going for fedual knights if I could train my way too them(not having too buy them), else heavy archers as they are strong vs town watch aswell as archers + balistas and maby 2 melee units with a surten set of marshell skill's in koh 1 is unstoppable.

 

/CQ

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