View Poll Results: What shall we do with the Merchants?

Voters
21. You may not vote on this poll
  • Keep them as they currently are in game.

    2 9.52%
  • Remove them completely.

    8 38.10%
  • Rework them as per JoC's proposal (see post 31)

    11 52.38%
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 76

Thread: Merchants

  1. #1

    Default Merchants

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    I don't understand: how do you stack them if there're no forts? Why only 50 - if you've got 180 settlements it means similar number of grain exchanges... (or you don't get it from castles? I don't remember)
    Oh I can have a ton of merchants, I just didn't train up to my limit is all. You can stack merchants in any army stack (so: a unit of Peasants) which is standing in the right spot. No fort needed. A general might be better though, as your army can get bribed by the AI (in that case the merchants seem to just disappear)

    A market gives 1 merchant each (except the very top level: 2)
    A castle can give you 1 merchant as well
    A Large City can build a merchant bank (+1 merchant), while a huge city can upgrade that for a further +1 merchant.

    So a maxed out Huge city can get you 4 merchants, while a built up Large City can give you 2.

    With my stacked merchants, yeah you can spend 500 on a merchant and he'll give you between 300-1000 a turn, so they're a method that can greatly increase your cashflow (say something like 500 a turn per settlement early on, it's handy but not major).

    When building a massive empire though, it's still unneeded, your tax income is enough to ensure you'll never run out for building. If I removed my merchants, I could still support all my building and double or triple my military.

    (If I built merchants to the cap I could have like 6x the military which would be something like 60-80 stacks?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    Interesting. Keep an eye on the other settlements, I'll check also in my game.
    I took a look. There's a pattern, more unique items traded seems to do it, with something for roads perhaps...

    It may be also affected by your trade bonus, but since I have a ton on every settlement (Master Merchants' Guilds) if so it's probably maxed out for these settlements. Note some of the very high growths though...

    Last edited by Alavaria; September 11, 2017 at 11:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
    Artifex

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cracovia
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Merchants: as usual, I admire your knowledge of the tricks and making the full use of the M2TW engine ;-)

    Growth: Iasi is very interesting: 3%?
    Can you just mark on the province list if the provinces produce / import grain? Maybe you'd spot some regularity with level of buildings or something?
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; September 11, 2017 at 12:20 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    I'm wondering if it's just like a curve increasing by # of items, and adjusted by city level (higher city, less growth), roads (better roads, more growth).

    It might also count exporting the same thing repeatedly (probably not though), but might count having more than one of the same item in a region. I doubt grain in M2TW is special like it was in RTW.

    That would seem to fit best, if the odd numbers are the end of the curve or adjustments pushing a little over or below each 0.5% step.
    Last edited by Alavaria; September 11, 2017 at 12:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Dunkirk - France
    Posts
    10,877
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    Merchants: as usual, I admire your knowledge of the tricks and making the full use of the M2TW engine ;-)
    Or is it his knowledge of exploiting the engine weaknesses?
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader



  5. #5

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    It's definitely exploiting the setup of the game engine, the game has a setting somewhere that says, let me check the descr_campaign_db
    <allow_resource_forts bool="false"/>
    (Of course SSHIP doesn't even have forts but well..)

    It's presumably the case that the game actually checks "is merchant on tile X, where X is a resource? Y/N"

    You can put them in an army and move the army on the tile, and while in some cases, the merchant does not show themselves making money, after pressing End Turn, the game will show it. And you get your dosh.

    Makes managing 50 merchants easier, but moneywise the benefit is you only need like the top 4 resource spots in your entire kingdom =P (With capital in Pisa, the points in Sicily are handy and protected). Also I think enemy merchants can't do anything to them...
    Last edited by Alavaria; September 12, 2017 at 02:22 AM.

  6. #6
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
    Artifex

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cracovia
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifthrasir View Post
    Or is it his knowledge of exploiting the engine weaknesses?
    It's getting off-topic, but if you ask:

    This case shows two main problems of the merchants M2TW-style:
    1) they allow big exploits of the M2TW engine (there're also other than squattin),
    2) they are very cumbersome to manage - they require much of micromanagement (not only sending them to the spots, but also fighting for resources)
    The third problem is:
    3) the AI is unable to use them properly and, at the end, they provide advantage for the player.

    I find also other arguments against them (well, was a merchant meant to stay throughout life in the wild to make a business?)

    All in all, I'm now more inclined to remove them from the game.

  7. #7

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    I actually do manage something around 180 priests, that's very annoying (they travel in packs of 3 or 4, much easier to handle that way). Also, spies and assassins everywhere to suppress the enemy by endless sabotaging.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    I find also other arguments against them (well, was a merchant meant to stay throughout life in the wild to make a business?)
    There are some specific trait for merchants when sitting still that
    1. Initially will add some +finance to them, but eventually...
    2. Will remove finance from them as they become corrupt etc.

    But checking all your merchants and moving them, uh... well it's easier if you just move your stacked merchants every 20 turns (have two stacks swap spots I guess).
    Last edited by Alavaria; September 12, 2017 at 03:12 AM.

  8. #8
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Dunkirk - France
    Posts
    10,877
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    You misunderstood my point JoC. My remark wasn't about merchands only but about the way Alavaria plays the game (nothing personal Mate ). Nobody else has been able to do it that way.
    Even if I find the info given by Alavatria somehow useful, I also wonder if it is the right option to modify some features based on the experience of one
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader



  9. #9

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Actually, one of the current minisubmod-things is a merchant agent remover one (adds more trade to the buildings to "make up" for it), I guess that's the context here: http://tmsship.wikidot.com/merchants-removed

    At least it isn't as bad as old-school RTW diplomat spam, though in some ways it's busywork for the AI which doesn't crank up its taxes or other things I think.
    Last edited by Alavaria; September 12, 2017 at 04:31 AM.

  10. #10
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Dunkirk - France
    Posts
    10,877
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    It would be interesting to have feedback about that feature made by tmodelsk. How does it work in game? How does it influence the incomes?
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader



  11. #11
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
    Artifex

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cracovia
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifthrasir View Post
    You misunderstood my point JoC. My remark wasn't about merchands only but about the way Alavaria plays the game (nothing personal Mate ). Nobody else has been able to do it that way.
    Even if I find the info given by Alavatria somehow useful, I also wonder if it is the right option to modify some features based on the experience of one
    Yes, indeed, he's special. And I've learnt a lot from him However, the merchant-stacking and fencing tricks have been known for years and it's why in some recent mods removed it (EBII, DLV-BB, DoC, tmodelsk submod). As I've said, I hesitated before, but now I'm more inclined to remove the merchants, or make them much rarer.

    Actually, I don't see much problems with the impact of removing the merchants on the income.
    For the player:
    * early game: the merchants are usually weak, unable to fight the AI merchants, and provide not so much income. In my case it's around 15% but I had good resources around, including gold in Hungary, and I had many merchants from 5 settlement at the beginning (it would be interesting to see other players' experience).
    * late game: the income from other sources is so big that the merchants actually add to the snow-ball effect.
    For the AI: it cannot manage its merchants: they come and sometimes get the best resources, but sometimes they just walk away. The swings in income may actually make it even more stupid, I suppose. I haven't learnt the income mechanics yet, but I think it can be compensated somehow, if it's deemed necessary.

    I see rather the issue of the players wanting to have merchants - it's another game feature and they like to move the merchants around to the best spots (and to reload games if there's an AI strong merchant figting your...)

    Here are my pros and cons for merchants in a M2TW mod.

    The reasons to remove the merchants:
    1. the AI is weak at handling it - it sends his merchants with little reason, I'm not sure if he recruits all he can (this was my observation from the Broken Crescent).
    2. what follows: they unbalance the AI finance - if it manages to get the merchants right, then it has a lot of money, but usually it's not the case. The swings in income make the AI even more confused.
    3. the player is sometimes forced to make enormous micromanagement if he wants to keep that gold resource;
    4. later in the game, with more merchants in play, it’s getting really annoying to manage all the merchants. Actually, the recent TW games (R2TW, ATW) got this message and they restrict the number of agents in the game to 1-3 for a faction (and there’re no merchants, btw).
    5. the large number of merchants also clutter the Agent information window - there're always so many merchants that you can barely see spies, diplomats or princesses (I've appreciated a clear information in this window while playing DLV-BB). On the other hand, there’s little reason to have a look at the merchants – while they’re on the resource you foreget about them until they die (it’s unlike the spies, diplomats, princesses and even priests – you want to control every other turn what they’re doing).
    6. there're many exploits possible:
    -- a) you may squatt with many merchants in one good resource place just stacking htem with an army
    -- b) you may bump-out an AI merchant from the place if you’re not able to have a better merchant to win an outright appropriation attempt (if the place is in the fog of war and you just order your mechant to go ther)
    -- c) you may kill an enemy merchant with military forces ("the 9th field in the middle").
    7. in the late game the merchants add heavily to the snow-ball effect given that higher-level buildings provide more merchants.
    8. the way the merchants are presented in the M2TW engine is not historical: was a merchant meant to stay throughout life in the wild to make a business?
    9. they don’t provide much meaningful choices for the gameplay. A player just produces them as early as they’re available (it always pays off) and send them somewhere. Even if they get any negative traits (like corrupt) it’s almost always better to leave them at the spot they’re. Only for the high-value resource (gold etc.) you care to make an earlier replacement (again, this results in micromanagement).

    The reasons to keep the merchants in game:
    1) they add to the gameplay: it's another aspect for the player to take care of (and the game is about the player taking care of many aspects of his realm)
    2) it makes you to appreciate your merchant guilds more (it's actually why I'm always trying to have the Merchant guild in my capital - to produce better merchants).
    3) it makes your faction income less stable, it provides for economic swings. You've got a good merchant, you've got an income, but if he gets killed your income may get lower.
    4) the SSHIP is already a balanced income for many factions, and the merchants may play a role in it.

    In my experience the micromanagement thing is the crucial one. I’ve played a few mods without them (EBII, DLV) and I had more fun as I could have concentrated on the other issues. Also the experience with ATW was better: less characters make the characters you've got more valuable. In the SSHIP when you get to 10 cities, it's getting tedious to deal with so many merchants.

    ----
    There's also an intermediate solution possible. Instead of removing them alltogether, we may make them very rare, for instance: available only from merchant guilds, Hanseatic guilds, highest levels of trade buildings and maybe some special cities (Venice, Genoa, Alexandria, Famagusta etc.). This solution would get rid of micromanagement but keep the gameplay / chrome for the players. It would also provide a kind of "reward" for the player for building up his realm. The problem with the AI will also be mitigated (less income swings), and the exploits of the player will be much less frequent (not so many merchants to squat at one place, not so many merchants to bump out of the place or to be killed with 9th method.
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; September 12, 2017 at 06:01 AM.

  12. #12
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Dunkirk - France
    Posts
    10,877
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Let's suppose we remove them. How should we rework the relevant guilds and events (like fairs)? How can we represent the Italian trading posts?
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader



  13. #13
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
    Artifex

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cracovia
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifthrasir View Post
    Let's suppose we remove them. How should we rework the relevant guilds and events (like fairs)? How can we represent the Italian trading posts?
    Yep, sorry, Lifth, I had second thoughts and I've edited my previous entry. See the last paragraph - I think we may mitigate the merchant problems (micro, AI stupidity, exploits) by making them much, much rarer. In such a situation the guilds would provide now merchants, (or maybe just the HQs, I don't know, but definitely not the lower-tire trade buildings), and the Italian traders as well (if I understand you correctly: for the moment this building it doesn't provide merchants, does it?). The event like fairs - indeed, we should think what to do.

    BTW - @Alavaria, on our previous discussion on the settlement's growth see this post of Gigantus. I think it's somehow definitive view and you've made Gigantus changing his view on the grain issue ;-)

  14. #14
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Dunkirk - France
    Posts
    10,877
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Not sure that the AI would be able to handle this

    Regarding the Italian traders, I'm not referring to the building but to the Italian merchants located on some resources when the game starts.
    Same remark for Cumans. To help that specific faction, they have a merchant located on a gold resource in Ural mountains (upper right corner of the map).
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader



  15. #15
    Navajo Joe's Avatar SS Forum Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    England
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Gentleman,

    I think that we may be 'Off Topic' , I am happy to let it ride, but shall I move posts 47 onwards to a new thread, I also want to add my input and I don't want JOC repremanding me again!!!!!! LOL





    'Proud to be patronised by cedric37(My Father and My Guardian)

  16. #16
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
    Artifex

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cracovia
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifthrasir View Post
    Not sure that the AI would be able to handle this

    Regarding the Italian traders, I'm not referring to the building but to the Italian merchants located on some resources when the game starts.
    Same remark for Cumans. To help that specific faction, they have a merchant located on a gold resource in Ural mountains (upper right corner of the map).
    Well, you've got a point, Guardian of the Balance.
    - I think the AI will be able to handle it in general, as the game unfolds. It won't make a big difference.
    - However, the starting position and the initial balance for many factions should be taken into account. Precisely what you've pointed at, and there're might also be other factions concerned. I think there's a long away ahead: looking at the factions, looking at the buildings, envisioning how the situation in 100-200 turns will evolve.
    - the most important thing is to learn what does MWY think about it. Without his backing, consent and support no changes will be made.

    BTW - is it possible to spawn a merchant through the script? Then the Fair event could produce a merchant?

    @ Navajo - I fully agree - I think you may create a new thread "Merchants" and move the entries you see fit (like from #47) to that thread. This could serve in future working out the issue of re-making the merchants (if done).
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; September 12, 2017 at 08:45 AM.
    For those who want to play a historical mod in a medieval setting:
    try either the Stainless Steel Historical Improvement Project + minimods,
    or the Broken Crescent + Buff and Shine submod.
    ..........................................................................................................................................................................
    Reviews of the mods: SSHIP (2018), Wrath of the Norsemen (2018), Broken Crescent (2018).
    Thrones of Britannia: review, opinion on the battles, ideas for modding.
    Minimods for the SSHIP: Generals Traits, Provincial Titles, Crowns.
    Short guides for the SSHIP: population growth, forts and watchtowers.
    Pros and cons of having Merchants in an M2TW mod.
    Home rules for playing a game without exploiting the M2TW engine deficiencies.
    Dominant strategy in Attila TW and Rome 2 TW: “Sniping groups of armies”.

  17. #17
    Navajo Joe's Avatar SS Forum Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    England
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Merchants

    To be honest I find the micro managing of characters very tiresome and generally unfulfilling. I don't mind Princesses, Spies and Assassins, but Merchants and Priests are just a nuisance.

    I believe that Merchant Trade should be linked to the control of a region, having a suitable building that encourages and grows trade. I find the micromanaging of Merchants all too much and I just don't bother with them anymore. The same can be said of priests, again if the religion of a area could be related to the building.
    Last edited by Navajo Joe; September 12, 2017 at 10:08 AM. Reason: Extra





    'Proud to be patronised by cedric37(My Father and My Guardian)

  18. #18

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    -- b) you may bump-out an AI merchant from the place if you’re not able to have a better merchant to win an outright appropriation attempt (if the place is in the fog of war and you just order your mechant to go ther)
    -- c) you may kill an enemy merchant with military forces ("the 9th field in the middle").
    Oh better yet, you can use one unit to bump a merchant off a spot, even if you don't want to go to the effort of "squishing" them with 9 units.

    To deny the AI use of your nice gold mines, similarly just put some Peasants there. As a buffed up AI merchant might get 2000+ gold a turn, this might be worth the upkeep of a small or depleted unit to camp it. (Remember, your own merchants might get taken over, giving the AI some bonus cash as well).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifthrasir View Post
    Regarding the Italian traders, I'm not referring to the building but to the Italian merchants located on some resources when the game starts.
    Same remark for Cumans. To help that specific faction, they have a merchant located on a gold resource in Ural mountains (upper right corner of the map).
    You can just modify the faction's "King's Purse" or so on. Currently distant traders are temporary bonus, if only because 1. death of old age or 2. they get taken over by merchants made by the nearby faction.

    You can of course replicate this effect as well if you want the temporary early boost with an initial King's Purse that the campaign script lowers X turns into the game and so on. (I mean, it's what the Mongols get, a ton as they arrive, slowly tapering off)

    Quote Originally Posted by Navajo Joe View Post
    I find the micromanaging of Merchants all too much and I just don't bother with them anymore. The same can be said of priests, again if the religion of a area could be related to the building.
    Well the religion buildings can be pretty good (at least for the three big religions, less so for Lithuania/Cumans), though only really at the Large/Huge city do they get really good.

    Having a lot less priests around would make expansion much slower, at least against other religions you have to convert. While it's funny to imagine that your "usual" expansion is to take over all the people of your own religion first, I guess it's oddly historical... well for some factions it's almost inevitable.


    Catholic etc, building's religion_level bonus
    • _ Town: 0.5
    • L Town: 1
    • _ City: 2 (7 turns to build)
    • L. City: 5 (15 turns to build)
    • H. City: 10 (25 turns to build)

    Lithuania:
    • _ Town: 1 (6 turns to build)
    • L Town: 1 (9 turns to build)
    • _ City: none
    • L City: 1 (12 turns to build)
    • H City: none

    Giltine/Dievas have 2 at the Large City level. Considering it's (significantly) harder for Lithuania to reach Large City anyway, well it's possible to "lose" to a spam of Catholic or Orthodox priests looking to level up...
    Last edited by Alavaria; September 12, 2017 at 11:14 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Merchants

    Agents are a tough call- some people enjoy using them but they definitely get tedious. I think the way later TWs did it is better but even there they had to make some changes to try and reduce agent spam.

    It would be fine if only Capitals or the Highest Mechant guild buildings generated a merchant and similarly for priests requiring high level religious buildings or yet another script rewarding for papal favor/high piety of FL or joining a Crusade/Jihad.

    8. the way the merchants are presented in the M2TW engine is not historical: was a merchant meant to stay throughout life in the wild to make a business?

    The way most trade was conducted long distance did actually mean a merchant would travel and spend a considerable part of or even the rest of his life somewhere while acting as an agent for his family or trading group. Trade depending on trust since contact was irregular- often a shipment from a specific place would only arrive once or twice a year which is what the merchants are supposed to represent with exotic resources scattered around the map.

    For local trade it was quite different and is more represented by buildings and trade connections- as time passed long distance trade more often became part of local trade especially when stable trade routes were available or when things like silk cultivation, glass, dye, weaving, new crops, etc spread to new places. Then with long distance ocean trade becoming the most important after Portuguese found the route around Africa and the Americas were pouring out previous metals and then plantation crops.

  20. #20
    tmodelsk's Avatar Tiro
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Warsaw, Poland
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: "Victory": Pisa Prepares for Mongols (179/199 settlements)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifthrasir View Post
    It would be interesting to have feedback about that feature made by tmodelsk. How does it work in game? How does it influence the incomes?
    In my opinion it works very good .
    I've played a lot of games with these tweak (http://tmsship.wikidot.com/merchants-removed) .

    The work is simple, copy from description from wiki page:
    Details:


    • All starting merchants characters at campaign start are removed.
    • All merchants recruitment abilities for building are removed.
    • Boost up non-merchant trade income , x 1.85 (+85%), Trade Multiplier parameter
    • Boost mining income x 2 (+100%), Mining Multiplier parameter
    • Merchant guild requirements are rebalanced (lowered), from 100 250 400 to 25 60 120, Merchant Guild Levels parameter
    • save game compatible, you can alter / uninstall after campaign start or even install on on going campaign (but existing merchants won't be removed, but they will die sooner or later).

    I've set trade multiplies to 1.85 basing on my careful research, what are the normal faction budget proportions when game is played by AI or by player but without tricks.
    For me it looks like merchant trade income is something like normal trade income or smaller, so that is 1.85 multiplier (less than 2.0).
    All these is described on my wiki even with some statistical budget data.
    Last edited by tmodelsk; September 13, 2017 at 03:19 PM.
    SSHIP mini-mods :

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •