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DevDiary 27 - Army Recruitment and Supply


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Hello friends and welcome to the 27th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! Back in our 5th DevDiary, we talked about Marshals and Armies. Today it is time to finally revisit and expand on that topic. Let’s have a closer look on what it takes to prepare and maintain an army and how size and power can vary from army to army, even though all marshals can lead 8 squads.

Fans of the original KoH game will find the army recruitment similar in KoH2:S – each squad requires gold (kingdom resource), as well as population and food (province resources). To make the things more interesting, in KoH2:S we have added one component kingdom levies, which represents the capability of a kingdom to train and arm new soldiers quickly. Unless your strategy is to amass militia, levies are very important since, besides for recruitment, they are also needed for army equipment, fortification improvements and others. They are “produced” in settlements, mainly castles and villages, depending primarily on governor bonuses, buildings, upgrades and traditions. The maximum “storage” values of kingdom levies can also be increased by some buildings and upgrades. A kingdom with many levies “in store” can quickly mobilize and prepare for war. A kingdom with high production of levies can sustain the size of its army in longer conflicts, replacing the losses with new recruits.

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Each army led by a Marshal has up to 8 squads, but that doesn’t mean that all fully recruited armies have equal manpower. The size of each squad depends on unit types, but also on numerous manpower modifiers like king’s bonus, kingdom levies production, “additional troops” recruited for that army, skills, traditions, and others. Crusaders also have significant bonuses and rebel armies’ manpower bonuses grow in time, especially when their rebellion manages to win some battles and land. In result, two armies, that have exactly the same number and type of units recruited, can differ in size up to several times.

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There are very interesting examples in history, ancient, medieval and modern, where lack of supplies played a decisive role in battles, military campaigns and even wars. We really wanted to make an additional step forward and represent the importance of logistic and equipment in warfare, so we added the following feature: Each army starts fully supplied, but fighting and travelling, especially abroad, requires a lot of supplies and eventually, armies can run out of them. In that state armies can no longer start sieges and receive substantial penalties on some statistics like movement speed, units’ morale, and stamina. Resupplying can be done by pillaging settlements, as well as in home towns, for the cost of gold, as well as food from the local storages. There are also additional skills and actions that can be helpful to maintain a good supply, like an army leader having Logistics skill, the army having a supply wagon equipped, or the Merchant’s “Supply army” action.

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Each squad recruited, no matter if it is in army or garrison, additionally requires upkeep of “kingdom food”. This is a more abstract stat of a kingdom and it is not a currency. Instead, total production and import are compared to the required army upkeep. Lack of food’s effect is not as immediate as that of the lack of army supplies, but when a kingdom’s food is insufficient, this reduces growth, stability and army opinion. Severe food insufficiency can even result in some armies going rogue. Players may strategically choose to go along with exceeding that soft limit for their kingdom’s total army size and indeed desperate times might call for such measures, but they should be careful how long and to what extent do they keep their armies and population starving.

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Now we also should discuss army equipment, which we’ve mentioned a few times. Each army leader has between 1 and 4 such slots (by default 2 for Marshals), depending on their class, skills and traditions. Each of these can be used for one of the following:

  • Additional troops – A manpower boost for all squads in the army, on the cost of increased food upkeep and supply consumption.
  • Supply wagons – These increase the current and maximum supplies of an army and are helpful in longer campaigns, especially in distant lands.
  • Siege equipment – There are several types of siege machines, invaluable in taking down strong fortifications. They have different cost and requirements and as effect vary only in strength in Battle Simulations, but are vastly different in Tactical Battles, led personally by players.

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As always, we’d love to hear what you thing about this military side of our game’s economy. Do you find such more in-depth system interesting, or does it sound too complex? Do you like the army equipment, adding even more variety to specialize your armies and what other things would you like to be available in it?

We’ll talk more about recruitment and supply of armies in our DevStream on Thursday, May 19th, @ 3:00 PM UTC / 11:00 AM EST. Note that this is in 2 weeks – we have some unfortunate schedule conflicts, including the live Orchestra recording for the game’s music next week (exciting!), that have us running a rare delay from posting the Diary to holding our stream. We didn’t want to go quiet that long, so we’re posting this up today.

Feel free to enlist and join our ranks – the Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream.

Next time we’ll will talk more about “Political view” and its filters, a crucial element of the game, that allows you to find quickly and conveniently in the game important information about kingdom relations, resources, religion and many others. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!


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Can you attain more supplies by completely wiping out an opposing enemy army? The assumption here is that you overran the opponents and captured their army supply. 

Do you still lose supply during an ongoing siege? And if so, do sieges cancel off once you are out of supply?

Can you double>triple>quadruple the usage of the equipment slots? i.e Have 4 siege equipment's, 4 wagons ect.. Follow up question: Has this been tried how does the balance feel on that?

 

Keep up the hard work.

 

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thx for the update and keeping us posted! Stream delay due to orchestral recording of the epic game soundtrack seems like a very fair trade off 😉

 

My only concern regarding army supply in the field is that it should not get tiresome. As long as you give it a bit of management and planning it should be rather durable. If you don't, well then make us really feel the punishment 😆 This would seem logical if you picture starving, powerless soldiers. 

So as long as there is not too much micro management I am totally on board with this concept and I really like the idea of the levies!

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Posted (edited)

Devs made a lot of odd decisions, I cannot say they are all wrong, but they look very questionable.

 

Manpower bonuses

I understand the intention to keep limited unit slots, but allow to expand army sizes in a bigger range. But these magical “manpower” bonuses from marshal skills, traditions and now army equipment make no sense. So I have a base unit of say 100 men, they take say 100 levies and eat 10 food, upkeep 10 gold. Then, in a middle of nowhere I add an equipment to the army for +15% and magically have a unit of 115 men, which still eat 10 food and upkeep 10 gold and if I need to heal the unit it will take same amount of levies? Due all the respect, this is laughable or should I rather say – “out of the game setting”.

 

Instead I would rather completely remove “manpower” bonuses all together and have plain old bonuses to attack, defense and so on. Not only it would make sense from realism perspective (different training, armor, tactical moves can buff stats on soldiers but same amount of soldiers), but also would allow you to separate bonuses to have only an attack bonus from one thing, or defense bonus from another or say “number of available arrows” from something else. With plain “manpower” bonus mechanic you just buff everything all the time and have no room for more intricate bonus effects.

 

Costs and upkeep

The system as described is way too complex for too little gain. Not only you have food upkeep on a unit level and a supplies on an army level. Things like equipment also have upkeep increase on top of that. Nowhere I can see a screen or a view which can clearly show upkeep costs table to a player. I will be lost in a middle of a game trying to figure out why my global food upkeep is negative and who where and why is using what. An army unit moved from 1 marshal to another or from to a province garrison should magically require more or less upkeep based on all these skills and bonuses.

 

Yet, since kingdom food is not localized and is magically supplying everyone everywhere in most cases for most players this would be not an issue, they won’t even know the food supply is going on until it just shuts off. I have no idea how this medieval Maersk supply chain is supposed to work and it won’t matter if it was for the good of the game overall. But all I see is a mechanic to limit armies which are already supposedly limited by number of marshals, number of slots, levies, gold upkeep and army supplies. All this points to either a failure to balance army vs economy with an extra complexity to keep it in check, or a failed food sink in order to make burden on a mid to end game economy and take out food out of the province growth.

 

In my mind this is too complex for a casual/grand world gameplay or too generic and lacking options and different management tools for a hardcore/logistics oriented gameplay.

 

Army supplies

Idea of army supplies looks very raw at the time. It is for some reason localized to the army unlike food and gold upkeep. Which is a good direction, but it appears to have a constant “supply depletion rate” and there are no reasons to believe this is anything but a “timer” between resupplies. I would imagine supplies would be used for “actions” (not just constantly rot away) to be different from gold and food upkeep which are also constant rate.

 

By the way, a “depletion rate -0.6”?! Oh come on, decimals, really? In such a casual game you want players to deal with decimal numbers all of the sudden? "Sire, our army supplies are vanishing with 6e-1 rate per second! What shall we do my liege?" :classic_wacko:

Instead I would rather keep supplies as an army localized resource, but I would have actions which use set amount of resource once activated. Without much thinking I can imagine:

  • “lay siege” - would be N supplies action
  • “double march” – a temp boost to speed action, would be M supplies
  • “fierce assault” - a one time bonus to attack next battle would cost some supplies
  • "fortify camp" - builds a camp in place for defense bonus for a short time, costs B
  • "load on ships" - transfers an army to become a sea fleet

and so on, you can think another half a dozen.

 

Not only it would be dramatically more clear to a player when and how many supplies are used (as opposed to this constant slow drain), but also it gives you freedom to introduce timed, player activated army abilities at the cost of supplies. And I think your global military gameplay lacks that A LOT. Gameplay around when and what ability to activate and save or use supplies at a certain point in time is dramatically better then just another obscure slow resource sink.

 

 

Edited by William Blake
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Does the AI have to deal with the same supply problem? This is important, since it will be very tiring and annoying if they can have giant armies marauding in your lands for unlimited time, while you have to carefully balance your supplies.

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To continue my thoughts

Expanding Military Gameplay with Army Abilities

So, let’s for a minute run with an idea that we have player activated army abilities. These would cost army supplies and probably this cost should scale with the number of units a marshal has. Effect duration and cooldown would be very common mechanics most players would already have an experience with.

 

For simplicity let’s look at a minimal ability set and see what gameplay possibilities these can provide. Consider the following:

  • For simplicity lets say the all the following abilities have run time of 15 seconds and a cooldown of 60
  • An ability called “extended march” is activated to give an army a double movement speed, during cooldown army has half of the speed.
  • An ability called “fierce assault” is activated to give army an attack bonus
  • An ability called “fortify camp” is activated to give defense bonus but locks the army in place for the duration of cooldown

 

Now consider a game situation with 2 armies on a global map.

If you were to play as the game is right now, you options are very few – you either move away from a stronger army or you chase a weaker army. There is nothing else really in terms of military gameplay.

 

But with the army abilities mechanics mentioned above we could have a potential for much richer play / counter play:

 

  • You see my army moving in, you activate a “fierce assault” trying to attack. If I do nothing, you get to engage with a bonus.
  • My counter play can be to run away. Your counter to that might be “extended march” to catch up.
  • I can respond with either “extended march” but I risk to misjudge distances and timing and suffer from a cooldown slow speed, but I can outlast your fierce assault duration before we engage.
  • Or I can respond with “fortify camp” and try to get fight with defensive bonus
  • But you can counter play my fortify camp and cancel the attack while locking my army in place and getting potential reinforcements closer while I'm unable to move on a cooldown.
  • Most importantly, we both have to time it properly because we are running out of army supplies each time we activate an ability. Indirectly we are investing or I should rather say "betting" resources each time we use supplies and the play is to maximize payback. However as in all good gameplay mechanics we have a counter motivation not to save our supplies forever because if we miscalculate and lose an army all the supplies will be lost anyway.

 

Now all this becomes an interesting dance of time and judgment making global military gameplay way more deep and uncertain. This would be a tremendous bonus for a multiplayer where you don’t have RTS battles and all the military conflict will be reduced to a few marshals moving around with the same speeds. All these play options are greatly dependent on supplies available to a given army and a player skill and proper prediction of enemy actions. If the cost of abilities scale with army size you then can have a very interesting dance of smaller armies with more ability activations vs large armies which are not able to afford a lot of abilities. Imagine a play and counter play which wastes invading army supplies to the point that it cannot start a siege on a city and has to fall back home to resupply WITHOUT an actual battle even happening!

 

And these are just 3 simple abilities out the top my head. You can enrich the global warfare dramatically even with a very few army abilities due it’s timed nature and potential to counter each other. All that can be done with a minimal impact on the existing mechanics just by using army supplies resource as a fuel for these abilities. Supply becomes way more important, size of an army would make it costly, but smaller armies will become more viable if a player uses abilities at a right time for a great effect and less cost.

I would strongly suggest looking in this direction.

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15 hours ago, William Blake said:

To continue my thoughts

Expanding Military Gameplay with Army Abilities

So, let’s for a minute run with an idea that we have player activated army abilities. These would cost army supplies and probably this cost should scale with the number of units a marshal has. Effect duration and cooldown would be very common mechanics most players would already have an experience with.

 

For simplicity let’s look at a minimal ability set and see what gameplay possibilities these can provide. Consider the following:

  • For simplicity lets say the all the following abilities have run time of 15 seconds and a cooldown of 60
  • An ability called “extended march” is activated to give an army a double movement speed, during cooldown army has half of the speed.
  • An ability called “fierce assault” is activated to give army an attack bonus
  • An ability called “fortify camp” is activated to give defense bonus but locks the army in place for the duration of cooldown

 

Now consider a game situation with 2 armies on a global map.

If you were to play as the game is right now, you options are very few – you either move away from a stronger army or you chase a weaker army. There is nothing else really in terms of military gameplay.

 

But with the army abilities mechanics mentioned above we could have a potential for much richer play / counter play:

 

  • You see my army moving in, you activate a “fierce assault” trying to attack. If I do nothing, you get to engage with a bonus.
  • My counter play can be to run away. Your counter to that might be “extended march” to catch up.
  • I can respond with either “extended march” but I risk to misjudge distances and timing and suffer from a cooldown slow speed, but I can outlast your fierce assault duration before we engage.
  • Or I can respond with “fortify camp” and try to get fight with defensive bonus
  • But you can counter play my fortify camp and cancel the attack while locking my army in place and getting potential reinforcements closer while I'm unable to move on a cooldown.
  • Most importantly, we both have to time it properly because we are running out of army supplies each time we activate an ability. Indirectly we are investing or I should rather say "betting" resources each time we use supplies and the play is to maximize payback. However as in all good gameplay mechanics we have a counter motivation not to save our supplies forever because if we miscalculate and lose an army all the supplies will be lost anyway.

 

Now all this becomes an interesting dance of time and judgment making global military gameplay way more deep and uncertain. This would be a tremendous bonus for a multiplayer where you don’t have RTS battles and all the military conflict will be reduced to a few marshals moving around with the same speeds. All these play options are greatly dependent on supplies available to a given army and a player skill and proper prediction of enemy actions. If the cost of abilities scale with army size you then can have a very interesting dance of smaller armies with more ability activations vs large armies which are not able to afford a lot of abilities. Imagine a play and counter play which wastes invading army supplies to the point that it cannot start a siege on a city and has to fall back home to resupply WITHOUT an actual battle even happening!

 

And these are just 3 simple abilities out the top my head. You can enrich the global warfare dramatically even with a very few army abilities due it’s timed nature and potential to counter each other. All that can be done with a minimal impact on the existing mechanics just by using army supplies resource as a fuel for these abilities. Supply becomes way more important, size of an army would make it costly, but smaller armies will become more viable if a player uses abilities at a right time for a great effect and less cost.

I would strongly suggest looking in this direction.

I get the general feeling that what you are trying to push for in the game is for it to have a deeper play around army positioning and army actions. You are expressing that attitude strongly now with regards to how they handled the supply issue. I actually had talked about a similar desire earlier but focused the changes onto positioning rather then army abilities. I think what we both envision is something akin to  "ARCADE WORKSHOP: FACTORY SHIPS" from starcraft but implemented into KOH. 

With regards to positioning; examples could be , Ambushing bonuses are given to an army which recently leaves a tree line, swamps gives speed decreases to enemy armies which walk around in them too long, Hills provide a degree of bonus to arrow flights, night time fights ( for marshalls who have nighttime traits), fights on snow ect.... all these if given enough buffing and balance could really give the game a deeper sense of army management and gameplay. 

Now you are trying to achieve similar depth by giving armies cool down abilities, and I think this is a much easier road to walk down, what you have suggested above I enjoy allot, though I do see many issues arising as well, ill just mention a few concerns, which I am sure you will be able to rebut, but these are really intended more for the DEVS I suppose if they do intend to implement your changes to some degree. 

1. Do not add too many marshal/army abilities. Both in number and in type. (Number issue is obvious average players will lose them self in trying to remember what all do and end up utilizing just a few. Type isnt as obvious as an issue but still just as important, every type of ability should fill a very unique role and have the most reduced overlap with the others in terms of why and when that ability is best to be used. When abilities overlap in use, it reduces the who objective of having them in the first place which was to give depth of play. The more unique an ability feels the more chance a player uses it when it should be used. 

2. Ability adjustments based on army size. ( An adjustment you might think of making is that the size of the army influences the abilities it can use. Though this runs the above risk mentioned where we have too many abilities. But it may be interesting that a fully sized army gets a different set of abilities, then a small sized army, helping balance the armies against each other for all various balancing which needs to be done for armies of different sizing. It could also be done using an ability Tree, every new slot of unit unlocks or exchanges an ability. )

3. Do not give nations different abilities. (You could get really creative here of course and start to give nations different abilities, but I would argue against this for the Number issue mentioned above, and more importantly that an experienced player might just select nations which are overpowered and pummel inexperienced players. I always enjoy games where the new players are put onto a rather equal field as the experienced players. Abilities which are generic throughout the nations keeps the depth of play much more simpler to get into and learn. )

4. Abilities should be intuitive. ( this is self explanatory, you shouldnt have to read a forum online 😉 to fully understand all the effects bonuses and negatives an ability gives your army. This also makes the ability more relatable to the player and real life, as a side bonus. 

5. Cooldowns and consequences of these abilities should match the expected outcomes. ( What I mean by this is, the abilities should have a nicely balanced cooldown/consequence such that when used, you get the bonus/effect for the expected needed duration of time. In other words abilities should not need to be spammed, nor should they need to be hoarded.) (Side not This is not starcraft this is KOH, and the RTS of the map should feel more slow but strategically based rather then fast and micro based. I am concerned that the main advantage a person has from the above ability system you laid out is the persons speed to reply and not the thought that goes into the actual action. Conversely, I do not want the abilities to be such 1 time uses that people sit on them until the moment to use them is clearer than water. )

All in all, I like what you laid out William and as usual the devil is in the details. Well see what they say in the stream. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Ivory Knight said:

I get the general feeling that what you are trying to push for in the game is for it to have a deeper play around army positioning and army actions.

 

Yes I do. My motivation is very simple - this is Knights of Honor game, this is not "Merchants of Honor" nor "Spy of Honor" nor "Marriage Sim". Military aspect is the major driver for the game. And it cannot be lame, shallow and boring, because at the end of the day this has to be a game of military conflict and "medieval power through sword" type of thing.

However, what we see so far, well for several years actually, is a bit lacking. First, RTS direct combat has never been shown, talked about in terms of foundation of the gameplay and wont be available in a multiplayer. Meaning it is not a main venue for military action. And it is not a bad thing on itself, far from it. If this is a grand strategy game you don't have to rely on direct unit control. You can look at steam charts and see that Hearts of Iron IV is amazingly popular, second only to Civ VI in top 25 as strategy games, and it has zero RTS combat mechanics. While for instance Stronghold Warlords has all the classic RTS unit control elements and still is a pathetic failure of a game even as a well known franchise cannot attract players. So a strategy game, even a pure military game can be very attractive for a lot of people without any direct RTS elements, agreed.

Having said that, I'm not content with the global military gameplay we have been shown. The game goes into more and more confusing and misleading things like:

  • "Manpower" rating for Light Infantry is 300, manpower rating for Teutonic Knight Infantry is 200. This is what you will see over the marshal head on a global map. But from all other stats Knights are like 7 to 10 times more actual power than Lights, so manpower especially combined manpower of an army is meaningless number. Yet it is shown as the main indicator of army power on the map.
  • 300 manpower unit of Lights eat 1 food upkeep. While 200 manpower Knights eat 5 food. So you can't even estimate upkeep based on manpower numbers.
  • Somehow units transferred from a garrison into a marshal army will get instantly boosted with %-tage manpower due to skills and equipment, but for an average player... Hell, I look at it for a half a year and I cannot figure out what power with what bonuses is better or worse, especially against a given opponents! And I study gameplay footage frame by frame time to time.
  • At the same time you transfer units back to garrison and the same unit drops in upkeep and manpower instantly. So the game tells you different number of food upkeep of marshal units and garrison units separately. And somehow can move units from marshal and back and change food required for the same overall army.
  • Now they tell us that you can in fact run a negative food supply for a short time. But I fail to even understand how a player can use that or moreover why would you even need that mechanics of negative food supply when you are already limited by number of marshals, slots, levies, province population and gold to make more units.
  • I don't even see how it helps to have global levies AND local province population to be used for new units, you either take levies to be soldiers or you take common villagers from the province. Too many mechanics for the same thing.

But fine, we'll manage to understand all that complexity with some in-game experience. And then, I look at the end result - actual battle and military play. And I see blobs moving with the same speed with very little options to counter play against any stronger opponents. I see zero control over a given battle on a global map, well you can run away, true, but it is not meaningful control. 

I also expect a pretty boring and repetitive army composition. Cavalry needs a kingdom trade good to be built. Meaning that most of your enemies won't have cavalry at all, which makes all spear units less useful. Considering that you need separate upgrades for each unit type there is very little reason to build anything but swords and ranged units and never use spears or cavalry due to little return on investment. This is will be even more entrenched with unit veterancy over time so you won't switch units on a fly to match an opponent.

So if movement is lame, armies are limited by marshals = very few, battle itself has a zero input from a player what the military gameplay is at the end of the day? It appears to become "make economy, invest in army, choose weak weak target, click to take a city". I don't think it will be fun and engaging. To many complex rules on supply and unit production make no sense if you have very few usable unit types and very little military options to wage war. 

With this motivation I'm trying all this time to steer if not the game itself, but at least the discussion into more deep, action/reaction, movement/position military gameplay. Unless you want multiplayer to be a causal chat room with a fancy moving background, KoH2 needs action - time dependent, situational, with uncertain outcomes. Things to misjudge, misclick, miscalculate, predict, feint, plan for in a heat of battle.

Most of us came here to be Knights. We came for... well this:

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, William Blake said:

Cavalry needs a kingdom trade good to be built.

First, I wanted to share some ideas here. For instance, we know that if one can produce horses in a province, and if he wants to create horsemen, he can do that in the appropriate province. But then, what annoys me is the same can be done in the WHOLE kingdom, right? I believe that's how the game currently behaves. Since the last comments shared ideas about situational advantages in battle, and that I find nothing to add to them, I admit I would also like to see situational advantages when gathering an army - not necessarily with all trade goods. The game should allow the player to recruit horsemen only in a province that fits the associated requirements. That would be far more logical than the wide kingdom advantage when building an army. Then if someone wanted to put some cavaliers in his army, he should bring his marshal in a specific province to recruit there some squads (or wherever they may be garrisoned). I know this involves some kind of micro management, but I think it wouldn't be too complex, regarding both gameplay understanding and technical implementation. And if I'm wrong, tell me, because there may be something I'm missing, ah-ha! 😅

Second, some reactions to the whole dev diary (#27):

- Visually, I've noticed some UI improvements (number of settlements in a province, very useful, though the province features and the local trade goods produced haven't been separated as I've suggested about a month ago). Also, is it me, or is the main screen landscape still being enhanced? Maybe I find it too gorgeous every time I see it ha ha. 😉
- Linked to my saying just above, isn't there any hills in the game? There are plains, mountains, forests or so... rivers, sea.. but no hills? Or maybe I don't notice them...
- How is the Additional Troops mechanic considered a military equipment? I understand the necessity to have different ways to play the game... but I find no logic in it. At least no logic at all to consider this as a military equipment, instead of supplies/wagons, and siege weapons. Though, as I said somewhere, on the Discord: siege equipment was (almost) always built on the spot, otherwise it would slow down armies and it doesn't help to transport them on long distances. However it would be VERY interesting to have some engineers mechanic, that would allow to craft siege weapons, or that would allow to speed up their fabrication. Engineers that would also be able to set up some tunnels, galleries below a castle or a city? Which would help winning a siege, or reduce the time it takes...

---> This leads me to suggest some ideas; instead of "army equipment", it should be renamed to logistics. Then, indeed, displaying options impacting the role of an army would be great. So there would be, as showed, Additional troops, Supply wagons, and why not as I suggest Engineers? Instead of being able to craft siege equipment magically and transporting them on long distances, which makes no sense, sorry. It doesn't mean in its current state, I won't enjoy the game actually! Just that it could be enhanced so it demonstrates how it can be both original and serious, compared to several other games. C'mon guys, give us some incredible stuff we won't see anywhere else, just like KoH 1 did! Have some audacity! 😃

Finally, I want to make some more suggestions about which options could be added in logistics ("""army equipment"""):
- 4th (according to the way I've counted in this whole comment) = Organised camp/Organisation. This would allow your army to fight more efficiently, being more prepared, whether you attack or defend. And here I'm not talking at all about the knight's ability called fortified camp. This is my point: generally, in the Antiquity, Medieval times and until this day, military operations are launched from a base. Yes, you can have battles "unprepared", being on the move, but two enemy armies often had their own military camp, where they put all their equipment, food, treasures, which they left (or not) to fight their opponent. And if having an organised camp should allow your army to fight more efficiently (not being caught on surprise in an attack), it should also allow for better retreats. Otherwise if you lose a battle, your retreat should be more disastrous.
- 5th option: Medical staff. I know there's an option too in the knight's skills, that allows to preserve some of your soldiers, and heal the wounded ones... but that shouldn't be only a knight's ability. It should be available for an army, independently from the knight leading it. Then, you can want to stack the bonuses if you wish so, but that's another topic. Here, I think it is necessary to allow the player to have some medical staff in his army, if he wants to take care of his men, because it doesn't depend on the general only, but on logistics too! And that would also be more realistic I think.

There could even be more options, more ideas, etc. It's late here, and I prefer to let everyone react to these ones if he wants to. Otherwise, this dev diary hypes me, I find it great, very interesting... and, yeah, I believe there could be much more improvements so that the game would be even greater than what it may currently be. Can't wait for the Devstream! And for a sneak peek of this live Orchestra! 😉

Please, dear devs, make Knights of Honor II: Sovereign like its predecessor: a true masterclass. 🏆

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43 minutes ago, Calliope said:

For instance, we know that if one can produce horses in a province, and if he wants to create horsemen, he can do that in the appropriate province. But then, what annoys me is the same can be done in the WHOLE kingdom, right? I believe that's how the game currently behaves.

Not exactly. You need horses as a trade good, you don't have to have a province producing it as you can import horses. Then once you have unlocked horses you can build War Stable as an upgrade to blacksmith (I think). Then you can build cavalry units in any province with blacksmith. But if at any point in time you lose horses trade good unlock ( from import or your own produced) then war stable goes "off line" mode and you cannot make horse units anymore.

So funny enough, the system is both way more complex and yet way more simplistic because you don't care where or how horses are produced. You could make camel cavalry in Scotland if your kingdom has this special unit and you happen to control a province in Scotland, but your global kingdom at the same time might have zero provinces producing camels, you just need to trade it.

On that note, we don't really know if trade goods are required for all advanced units. Camels and horses for sure, but if you need steel trade good or something else for other unit type is not clear to me at the time.

 

54 minutes ago, Calliope said:

Though, as I said somewhere, on the Discord: siege equipment was (almost) always built on the spot, otherwise it would slow down armies and it doesn't help to transport them on long distances. However it would be VERY interesting to have some engineers mechanic, that would allow to craft siege weapons, or that would allow to speed up their fabrication. Engineers that would also be able to set up some tunnels, galleries below a castle or a city?

Totally agree. Siege machine should not be marching with an army, they should be buildable on a spot for a cost of army supplies and time. This makes significant difference in my mind, because it is commitment of time and resource each time separately. So you need to think each time if you want to start a siege and if you can afford a siege with a given state of the army supplies. If siege machines are just upgrades they make this army ready for sieges all the time and make not sieging a waste. Moreover, on a strategic level, if ANY army is potentially dangerous to my province I need to do something about them, but if the siege machines are upgrades I can disregard all enemy armies without machines if my cities are strong enough. 

I'm also very much against "engineering" as a marshal skill and think it should be some tech unlock on a kingdom level. In original KoH this skill was just basically "have to select it" in late game. I think it is very limiting to have skills which are required essentially and I think that any army big enough and supplied enough should be a significant threat to any city, no matter how skilled or not the marshal is. This allows come back gameplay after all or most skilled marshals were lost in previous battles but you need to push enemy city now with a new marshal. From what I understand there are "specialist" trade goods, these "people icons", I think these would be perfect vehicle  for unlocking more and more powerful siege machines to be built by an army on a spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, William Blake said:

I'm also very much against "engineering" as a marshal skill and think it should be some tech unlock on a kingdom level.

To my mind, an engineering skill could be great, if indeed it allows your marshal to build more advanced siege weapons. Without the skill, a marshall having engineers in his army could craft rams, onagers, tower sieges maybe? And with the skill, depending on its level, maybe he could make his engineers craft ballistas, then trebuchets, and finally, if he's a true genius, why not cannons? Like a true Jean Bureau. That would make a lot of sense to craft more advanced siege weapons depending on that Engineering skill.

The main thing here would be to have Engineering, Medics, and other options available in an army behaviour, independently from commander skills that could enhance them further more. 😃

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1 hour ago, Calliope said:

To my mind, an engineering skill could be great, if indeed it allows your marshal to build more advanced siege weapons. Without the skill, a marshall having engineers in his army could craft rams, onagers, tower sieges maybe? And with the skill, depending on its level, maybe he could make his engineers craft ballistas, then trebuchets, and finally, if he's a true genius, why not cannons? Like a true Jean Bureau. That would make a lot of sense to craft more advanced siege weapons depending on that Engineering skill.

The main thing here would be to have Engineering, Medics, and other options available in an army behaviour, independently from commander skills that could enhance them further more. 😃

Problem with marshal skills is that they cost books now. If you are rich and powerful it is not a problem, so  I don't even consider these scenarios. What I care about is recovery and come back options in case of near game loss and strategic warfare options with indirect combat.

First, if engineering skill makes you siege machines and you happen to lose a marshal, all your new marshals are very weak against enemy cities unless you spend books to get required engineering skill. Since we can expect mid to end game provinces to be very well build up, it basically means that you have an extra required cost in books on any new marshal to be even somewhat dangerous to enemy cities. Makes it harder to come back from a marshal loss and I don't like "required" skills.

Second, if we make advanced siege machines to be unlock on a kingdom level with a trade good "engineers" we can both have a curious gameplay around "trading this resource" like horses and can lock away powerful siege machines behind complex production chain. If engineers are not a skill, but an army equipment, then you basically will buy it as soon as you get gold and that could be very early on, making most early-mid game fortifications useless. If you make the price of this "equipment" high, it would mean that most poor kingdoms won't be able to compete or create danger to rich build up cities and also (see first point) will make it very hard to come back from a loss of an expensive army with expensive engineers upgrade.

In my mind, the best gameplay is a narrow balance between an assured victory and a certain loss. It is way better to present a player with a risky situation if you have a known recovery strategy in case it fails. As such I'd rather see a kingdom level progress through trade good "specialists" unlocking engineering rather than an expensive upgrade into a single army which can lose and bury all hope for a recovery because you cannot afford to invest into a new one.

 

 

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I have to admit I can't wait for the next dev diary! For like entire year or two I have been waiting for it. Basicly since the game was announced. The map was the main thing I am interested in and its different modes like religion and culture. 

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