The Stainless Steel steam groups are all outdated and finding a match is difficult. People looking for matches should join the SS Multiplayer Headquarters steam group. My steam id is triskex and I'm almost always up for a game.
We had many exciting games in the past but now its more difficult to find someone for a game.
Do you use any changed EDUs? We had our own we edited especially unit availabilities and some prices otherwise there was almost no point in playing other factions than holy roman empire and turks in late period because of AP cavalry for minimal price (same for byzantines generally), also naffatun were very cheap and hugely effective against almost any army if screened by some rubbish infantry, same for flamethrowers.
We also had edited unit availabilities as these arent very well done for custom battles and like it was the ony way to really enjoy every faction weaknesses and strengths was to set all eras and simply set period from which wew should take appropriate units.
We also experimented with removal of AP from weapons and subtitute it with bigger attack and slower weapon speed and with altering defence rating to make battles much longer but we stopped playing before it was fully done.
Id say its better to wait for 7.0 hopefully multiplayer will be adressed a little more than it was before.
Hahaha, those naffatun were badass. You could burn whole armies with 4 units of them (which was the historical limit we put). Problem was they threw too fast and they were far too devastating to morale. It's historical that they had so many pots, but for the game to be balanced, we had to take them out. We tried out tons of mechanics in the beginning stages of Stainless Steel. No limits on anything and following initial game design choices. Then, I put up banned units list for fantasy or questionable units and it was modified with the help of Gajo. Later learned that some of those banned were historical units and added them back later. We found that having too many knights+maa was problematic and it was something you'd see in vanilla RTW or M2TW, so we decided to put up strict historical limits so that we could use the whole unit roster and because it would be more fun. After changing the EDU, I found out that a lot of mercenaries from campaign are not available for multiplayer, so I freed them into multiplayer. There were at least 20 additional units due to this, including many national/regional units for factions that weren't mercenaries. Then, I went out and researched again for hours and hours to find out which units fit to what faction and which mercenaries were real or fake and which limits should be put in place for them. Population statistics, crusader army compositions, akinjis, raiders, and ravagers used in armies. Thankfully, I already had some of these in my bookmarks. Gajo and I discussed this in chat in terms of almost all the unit limits. We compared sources and historical accounts, while at the same time testing each iteration. Later on, we had difficulties enforcing this complicated set of rules and I set out to fix it by putting the changes and limitations in the EDU itself so that nobody could have more than four (for most part, keeping SS 6.4 limitation red cards) and put in 1000000 florin cost for going past it. After all, you couldn't really buy nobles past a certain point and you couldn't magically make the population grow more nobles in thin air when a battle came. You shouldn't have the nobles make half of your army as that wouldn't make sense. They were a minority. I put in historical unit limits where each unit had an era determined by SS 6.4, which was determined by CA before them. The eras: Early, High, and Late are CA's game design version of medieval history and as such, I worked with what I was given. It's not as good as having one set for each century, but it was an improvement. AP was discussed as were provincial limitations like Swabian Knights and doppelsoldner ratios with pikemen. Problem was that when we have matches against each other, one of us or both of us (or even more than that) would find out a way to min-max to the point that the armies were uniform. So we set out to fix that and made game balance changes so that AP units were limited without losing historical damage values. Scholarii kept historical limits, but that was way overpowered when employed. I still kept them, but reduced the charge value because they weren't known for the charge compared to late western lancers. I looked up historical information on Scholarii and most general history states that plate armor was more advanced and better than the armor of the Scholarii. However, I have done enough research on lamellar to know that it fares better against arrows. So, I just reduced the armor value a little bit as well. It is still the most powerful cavalry unit aside from the Polish Guard. You still have to consider that Scholarii are available in the early era, so it is even more overpowered than you can imagine. I still kept it to keep it as historical. The SS costs are good so that you can combat it if you have enough spearmen, cavalry, and archers. For later eras, pikemen and muskets work wonders.
I put up even more limits on men at arms and nobles so that it would reflect historical values. I discussed with Gajo about it and we put a safe average for the standard medieval army composition. You could go lower, but not higher than that amount. I put different limits based on the factions as well. Crusaders would get more knights, but because of the order knights. We discussed more factional differences like English nobles vs. French nobles and we didn't iron it out as much, but it didn't matter because the changes had created a huge effect that most armies would not have that many nobles anyways. I still have to reduce the throw rate of naffatun, since it does seem too fast to be realistic. I couldn't find any sources about their methods, but we both think that it would probably be lighting it then and there and then throwing it, instead of lighting them all at once and throwing them in rapid succession (each man lights several and throw them in rapid succession in the game). I could be wrong. If so, then it won't be fixed, but the unit will still be capped at 1 or else it's way overpowered. Far more effective than Scholarii too. Archers and horse archers negate them, but when you cover them up with infantry as meatshields and armor them into chainmail, it is extremely difficult to kill all four units before they charge your infantry lines and then burn about 400 troops in a matter of minutes. We also haven't found a proper solution to AP units. I know that it was discussed that slowing them down too much creates the CA's two-hander bug. In vanilla M2TW, two-handers were completely useless against fast 1-handers because they could keep injuring them and resetting their animations. SS 6.4 fixed it but they are extremely powerful and we were thinking of finding a solution to alleviate that. Armies weren't uniform anymore though. Also, I couldn't find ANY sources on pagan lithuanian infantry. I gave up on that. That is the hardest faction to research for me (aside from China and other lesser known Asian nations).
One major lesson we learned was that historical realism is great, but you have to consider game balance. Metagame determines that horse archers will win out. The Huns conquered so greatly, not only because of military strategy, but also because of the skill and effectiveness of nomadic horse archers that could not be faced by the sedentary civilizations. The same goes for the Mongols. The great accomplishment of Stainless Steel are the historical damage values that make everything correlate with historical accounts. If you play the Mongols and face the standard western European army, you will decimate them before they even touch you. If you play with strong pikemen, you will destroy the non-pikemen infantry and heavy cavalry-based armies.
And one thing I learned in my thought exercises was that playing all the battles with the same army type and just horse archers vs. horse archers or archers vs. archers would be boring. It would lack variety and that's what we aimed for in our decisions making the changes in unit limits from purely historical basis into historical basis + game balance.
I'll put up the file here in a few days. I just need to find the right version EDU in my gaming computer.
Just to add to the topic of Naffatuns, that we have played many battles where one of us was against them and overall there were ways to win battles against army using them but this had to involve huge surprizes and a bit of luck, naffatun army only had to stand their ground with cheap spearmen in front and anything, that reached their lines was decimated in seconds by their grenades.
Cavalry worked at one point to smash initial gaps in line so that attacking infantry could reach them directly - this was of no use once double line meatshield was employed.
Missiles could reduce their numbers but if you keep them in loose formation two wide you can waste all arrows at the distance, you simply cant kill them all and their nice feature is that even 5 of them can compost most elite unit in 2-3 throws is its packed together.
Overall new unit availabilities really made battles quite nice I especially acknowledged that limits put less superarmoured men on the battlefield, so eventually bows came to be very devastating and frontal attack against lets say english longbowmen in line with most of your army would leave you with only few armoured units once you reached enemy lines if you just sent them ahead so their quite big price is now fully satisfied. And less superheavy cavalry also has its advantages.
Every faction has quite interesting and variable options of how to fill your ranks, once limits for elite units are exhausted, my favourites were venetians. These are very usefull units but noone would ever pick them in face of being able to have 8 quite cheap units of knightly cavalry and infantry combined for the same price as whole army of them fully upgraded.
Sorry for the delay. My desktop is finally fixed and I found the files.
Join, setup games, and play.
Well we havent played for like 2 years now, due to other stuff. Nevertheless it would be interesting to start again, especially, if more people were able to join for bigger matches, and testing. The mod still remains - at least for me - the best impersonification of total war game, greatly suited for long, tactical battles in multiplayer. Sadly, unit stats and prices makes it extremely boring to play after awhile, because there cleatly is no rational reason to take faction with weak expensive units, when there are others with cheap and strong ones. We still have some modified EDUs, especially with changed unit limits and also some experiments with stat tweaks, but I dont think anyone remembers exactly how it worked and how stats were changed. :-D
It would be really great to get into some testing, especially AP bonus simply doesnt work with current stats system. Removing half of units armour, when its stat are 25 armour and 4 defense hugely unbalances everything and makes AP polearm infantry and AP heavily armoured cavalry simply dominate everything. They certainly should but for higher price and with reasonable unit limits and if possible, in a different way, than having the ability to remove in some cases something like 40 percent of units effective defense. AP ability needs to be fixed value, it shouldnt be relative reduction. We also experimented with increasing units defense values for even longer and more challenging battles, where unit positioning would be everything and battle would offer quite realistic casualties values - very low in actual combat and quite high once morale broke, so good moves can with a battle with disproportionate casualties. I really liked it, but it wasnt generally appreciated, so we only had few matches like that.
Nevertheless would be really great to have 2v2, or 3v3 matches organized, it could be made into videos to propagate the mod a little further. Id say now might be the good time for it because of better hardware as well, so 3v3 with huge unit sizes is playable. Back then, even 1v1 was quite a problem on higher settings with huge unit sizes, but now even large battles might run just fine.