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Units experience and veterancy levels

William Blake

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In regards from the question about unit experience from the DevDiary 5. I gave it a thought and I think I have a solution you might like.

Issues with unit experience:

If you don't have unit experience it becomes quite plain, units become totally disposable. This takes away from the feel of persistent grand strategy. Especially with the extensive skill mechanics for marshals it would just be a gaping hole not to have unit levels.

However, if you do have unit experience things get problematic on a long run. Maxing out unit experience requires you to save units through the game, but at some point you army becomes so elite that you have unrealistic advantage over any enemy. Moreover, if you manage to lose your all elite army it becomes such a terrible loss that you just cheat with loading a saved game. Which is lame but unavoidable. Saving and leveling units to max veterancy becomes really bad metagame and prevents a lot of flexibility like disband to reduce upkeep, choosing right unit types for an occasion in favor of your maxed out veteran pack and so on.

A unit exp system needs to be more fluid especially over long time to reduce effects of stacked maxed out never dying armies, yet giving a player something to be engaged with during whole playtime of a game so experience gain on a unit would matter even at the endgame.


Proposed solution:

Assume every unit has its own experience points. Say from 0 to 20 exp. Upon reaching 5 exp a unit becomes regular, by reaching 15 exp a unit becomes veteran. Now lets add dynamic increase AND DECREASE of unit experience over time. For instance: 

  • Unit goes into battle it gains N1 exp
  • Unit  kills an enemy it gains N1 exp
  • Yet every set period of time  unit LOSES L1 exp
  • Every reinforce of a unit with fresh people  unit LOSES L2 exp

Which give us an interesting flow: a unit not engaged in battle will have its experience gradually reduced over (idle) time at some point an idle unit will lose a level. A unit reinforced by fresh people will lose exp and at some point will lose a level. So units can reach veteran level and then lose levels over and over again depending on how they are used or not used. It makes veteran units vanishing in a peace time and rewarded back with experience at a war time. You won't be able to keep your kingdom stocked with veteran units forever and if you are at a war and suffer a lot of losses you will have to reinforce unit and lose exp by adding fresh recruits, if you are not at war your units are just losing exp over time.

Once unit veterancy becomes fluid like that, a player will have way less issues with loosing veteran units since they have to be used or they just go back to low level by doing nothing. It would be hard to maintain a maxed out army without engaging in battles which means that you would have to reinforce your loses which again would balance unit veterancy up and down. In a battle a player would need to use veteran units and risk them to get exp up again to compensate, but you have an issue of losing too much men in the process and require a reinforce which would cost more exp than your battle performance would give you.

To make this into a more advanced feature you can add skills to marshal like "reduce loss of exp while idle", "reduce loss of exp per unit reinforce" and so on. You can allow buildings or kingdom advantages to make units with some starting exp knowing that you can't really max out units and keep them at max forever.

Maybe an exp loss should be not linear or maybe you want to limit level loss from reaching absolute bottom so you can only get as low as regular, its up to your implementation. Maybe to make it shine you need 5 levels instead of 3 with level 3 being more or less easy to maintain but 4 and 5 being harder and harder to gain and maintain. Its up to you to play with exact numbers depending on how you want to fit in your overall game feel.

But the main mechanic should be - units have individual exp, current unit exp defines current unit level, you gain exp and you lose exp on each unit so you can't have top level units forever unless you really really try to keep them at max level by active actions every battle.


Hope it gives you a new possible route to explore,
















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  • Developers

Current idea is pretty similar. Units have XP in context of the leader (and depend on his skills like "Training"). The metaphor is that some leaders are better in training and maintaining troops skills. When outside of an army, they lose slowly what they had as XP. But, I am not perfectly happy with it ... 😞

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Maybe you want to elaborate what you are not happy about? The problems you mentioned in the dev diary should be solved with what William Blakes proposed (and you already had as an idea yourself).

Personally, I never saved any expierienced troops in the first game. They always had to fight upfront in my armies to break the enemys morale the fastest. So for me even the old system would have been fine, but I can see that some people would feel the incentive to save up their best troops.

Edited by Zerg
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Personally I would enjoy a more dynamic strategical decisions, as Frujin said - in the spirit of Knights of Honor, meaning that I would prefer that the troops be disposable and replacable and it is more the knight, which they are bound to, that you have to care about. I am perfectly fine with having all regular troops with no veterans or elites, and quick and flexible army creation thanks to it. However I would suggest an alternative option, namely hiring premade veteran troops, straight from the castle, with no need of actual combat experience, just additional resources, be it money, food, (books?) etc. etc. For example a cost of points of Piety, to make the troops more zealout, or something like that.

But yea, I am with Frujin on this one, I would prefer the flexibility of Knights of Honor to be true, rather than dealing with xp of units, sentimentality over your favorite army, etc. etc.

Besides, having a stronger army of higher xp troops can allow the player to steamroll the enemy, when the other kingdom can't quite train a new army of the same quality, without defeating the said player army first. This is an issue I would strongly not like.

My advise - Just do the thing You would like more, dear Devs! You are the professionals, after all, and you do know your game!


Kind Regards!

Edited by Yavor
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Veso, you are settings up your system exactly against what you want to archive.

If as you say units do not lose exp while in a marshal's army but lose exp outside an army, it means nothing is really addressed:

  • You force a player to keep same units under the same marshal, cause they don't lose exp that way. While in fact from game design perspective you want to make player spread forces and have tactical freedom to leave units in different places or assemble various armies to deal with different enemies. It is more risk and more engaging gameplay.
  • You still have a system where you can max out units and they will be maxed out till the end of the game staying with a marshal all the time. Meaning your army becomes very stale and you almost have to use same units in a same army all the time in fear of not saving exp. At the same time your elite units will most of the time face no real opposition
  • You force people to create one big army with the best marshal so his skill bonus on training or exp would be the most effective to the most unit possible. Playing with few big armies is bad for gameplay.
  • You force people to have unit exp skills on all marshals just to keep up, making these passive unit training skills mundane applied to everyone.
  • Actual unit performance in a battle or involvement in a war has no effect on unit exp at all. In my system there is constant effect on unit exp depending on how you play in a battle with a given unit or you don't use your units in most effective way.
  • If reinforcement and unit's combat loses have no negative effect on exp, it is more likely that you would use your elite units all the time since they are stronger and if they don't die you just reinforce them all the time for no cost to maxing out exp. Which would lead to stale fights using the same few top units you have and loosing minimal men and reinforcing back with no real cost to exp

And if you are unhappy with your system, you probably want to define the outcome of a new mechanics you are looking first and then come up with possible solutions to be checked against these requirements, rather than thinking of a mechanics first and be not satisfied for some unknown reason.

The way I see it, it would be:

  • Unit exp should be mostly due to proper usage in a battle for each specific unit rather that a skill of a marshal which just applies all the time
  • Unit exp should vary so most of the time you won't have all green or all elite units, especially over long period of time on a global map. Endgame or not, you should not have dozens of elite units stacking all the armies everywhere
  • Unit exp should not obstruct tactical choices. Meaning choice of units should vary depending on current enemy at hand its its army composition instead of metagame of maxing out few top units and dealing with everything that way over and over again
  • Unit exp and marshal unit interaction should encourage smaller armies and more risk, rather than ganking with the biggest army possible. This is more than just unit exp system, but unit exp system should not encourage you to have more units in an army then you really need. So leaving units without a marshal or transfer units around between marshals should be have no penalty on exp.



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  • 2 months later...

I think unit experience shouldn't have that much of an impact. Only from slightly losing to just about to win in battles. Tying the experience to the marshal also doesn't make sense to me. I would think troops get buffed from an experienced general as long as they are in this army, but that is independent from the XP of the unit. The marshal could have buffs like "the experience drops less over time", though. Otherwise, I think, XP should be a pure unit property and increase the survivability (defence, moral) only slightly over inexperienced units.

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3 hours ago, ÆternaTristitia said:

I would love to destroy crowded enemy armies with my small but experienced and elite soldiers as if I was playing as a Pocket Prussia or something along those lines.

That already happens.  My experienced army with three fully buffed traits will destroy an enemy army with zero traits.

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4 hours ago, ÆternaTristitia said:

I don't know if generals also do randomly rebel in Knights of Honor II Sovereign but It would suck to restart everytime a general rebels.

That's the risk.  Happened in the real world, should happen in game.

Would be really fun to see the general I worked so hard to upgrade suddenly turn on me.  Ungrateful-----!  lol

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On 6/27/2020 at 9:19 PM, Lighthope said:

That's the risk.  Happened in the real world, should happen in game.

Would be really fun to see the general I worked so hard to upgrade suddenly turn on me.  Ungrateful-----!  lol

I just want to have a really pleasant and safe gameplay in my first playthrough before I get to more challenging things. :D

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21 hours ago, ÆternaTristitia said:

I just want to have a really pleasant and safe gameplay in my first playthrough before I get to more challenging things. 😄

There are different difficulty levels.  Would be easy enough to disallow certain events in lower difficulties.

(Are you seriously liking your own posts???)

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