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Thread: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

  1. #1

    Default Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    While dicussing in a public forum about recommended historical video games (EB2 was mentioned), one commented about how the mod, for all it's bssessive attention to detail, the entire game is built around missing the forest for the trees.

    He goes on to explain how EB2 (and by extension EB1) fails to properly model actual warfare during the time it depicts. Heck, he even says that the devs would rather make costume porn and call it a work of unparalleled historical accuracy than actually bothering to make changes to match the gameplay to make it historical.

    IMO, I enjoy the mod thus fare but the above comment made me want to ask everyone here on topic title's question at hand.

  2. #2
    isa0005's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    I think the EBII team has done the absolute best they can with the tools and resources available to them. MedII is an old game, its buggy and generally very limited in some areas. Honestly I'd like to see anyone do better then they have all things considered. With regards to the gentlemen's comment on failing to depict warfare of the time with absolute historical accuracy, First I would ask him what he thinks warfare was like then. Second I would ask him to cite his opinions and give me factual, peer reviewed, academic evidence for their basis. Lastly I would say to him, show me one game, one movie, one tv show that successfully depicts the combat and tactics of the time period! I guarantee that they will come up short. The fact is while our knowledge of human warfare across the ages is undoubtedly extensive, however there are things we cannot know for certain. I think the EBII team has done an admirable job at filling in the gaps as best as they possibly while still keeping the fun factor at that!

  3. #3
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    What were the specific criticisms?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    What were the specific criticisms?
    Here's his entire criticisms regarding EB2

    The EB games spend a colossal amount of attention on things like unit looks and differentiation between the factions down to the level of common shield devices. I can't fault them for that. However, they're still tied to the Total War combat engine, and all of the historically inaccurate crap that implies.

    You look through ancient sources (assuming you actually believe them), and you see most Diodochi era battles have a loser's casualty percentage somewhere in the 15-20% range, with the winner's casualty rate being considerably lower. Rome's fights tended to be a bit bloodier, but while you have some famous battles like Cannae and Trasameine and Telamon with huge losses, those battles became famous precisely because they were so uncommonly bloody and decisive. You actually play the game, and the 'once a unit routs it doesn't do anything but run away and is impossible to rally with a nearby enemy so one cav unit can mop up half an army' and add in the extra armor to attack ratio that they do, and suddenly you don't get units breaking at all until well past those casualty points, and when they do, complete annihilation of the routing army is the norm, not the exception.

    In some ways, EB makes it worse, because raising new armies, especially in EB2, is crazy expensive, so the sudden loss of a big force (almost inevitable when battle is joined) usually leads directly to the annihilation of the power fielding it. Again, this is just not how ancient war worked, even for the diodochi, who were relatively unstable in regards to ability to absorb major battlefield defeats.

  5. #5
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Sounds like someone has been playing battles of VH difficulty, because on M they do rally (and rout earlier, so you can't just mop them up).

  6. #6
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    I was happy to see the title of the thread but then I'm deeply disappointed by the kind of criticism. I think the EB2 very bad at portraying the casualties but it's the opposite: they're just too low.

    I've voiced it as follows:

    Hi Guys,
    I've played a Pergamon campaign and I've got some second thoughts about one aspect of the game - the losses.
    - the casualties in the victorious battles are very low. They are low not only because most of them come from catching the prisoners during a rout, but because there's a high rate of healing after the battle (my observation: 20% is healed), and this is more pronounced with the ability of the general to heal (33% with, eg, a Doctor ancillary).
    - the result is: you recruit one army, you go to war, you win battles with very few losses, and you keep on using the same troops for further conquests (be frank: the players don't lose battles frequently).
    - what follows, it makes the elaborate recruitment pool system irrelevant: you very rarely need to come back for replenishment (or you merge units). So why to have this carefully crafted system while you simply don't need all those recruits?
    - furthermore, in many other mods the loses make a natural limit of expansion: your wins may be Pyrrhic: you need to come back to your core provinces for replenishment. And you care about the losses as you may have your pools emptied by a reckless command in the battles.
    - actually, it makes a strong resemblance to the bad Warscape system (R2TW, ATW) where you just get a steady inflow of the new recruits into the line without bothering about the recruits;
    - a side effect of the system is that the units gain the experience chevrons very quickly. As they are granted on the basis of the differences between killed/captured enemy soldier and lost own soldiers, the EBII system makes it much faster (much fewer lost soldiers than in the other mods). You can have golden ones very quickly.
    So what do you think? I personally think that a kind of mechanism of "losses while on the offensive" should be somehow introduced to prevent the endless conquests.
    For now, the availability of the recruits is not a significant obstacle for such conquests.
    JoC

    More recent thoughts:
    1) the armies would always lose troops while on the march. The numbers I can give out of head are for the 19th century. In the France-Prussian war of 1870 the Prussian armies that arrived to siege Paris fielded only 50% (or so) of their initial numbers. The extreme case was of course the Napoleon 1812 campaign when the number of troops who reached Moscow was only 30%. The M2TW doesn't have such a mechanism at all.
    2) the normal situation for the EBII timeframe would be to come home after a campaign and disband units. The M2TW cannot provide for such a mechanism.
    3) data for losses in 2.35 at Very Hard is in this thread
    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”.

  7. #7
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tactics Mayers View Post
    Here's his entire criticisms regarding EB2
    What a silly thing to complain about. For starters, unless you have massive reinforcement armies on both sides, the troops you bring to the battlefield never amount to more than 3,500 troops and usually only 2,000 to 2,500 men, representing more of a vanguard force than actual army sizes for the big set piece field battles of the day like Cannae. Playing on regular Hard mode, I almost never kill off more than 80% of enemy armies. It usually ranges between 65-75% before the battle is through and they've all fled or routed (especially if I have successfully flanked them, sent cavalry flying behind them, and killed/captured their commander).

    Secondly, putting aside the fact you have to fight these fleeing enemy forces eventually if you're going to besiege nearby enemy cities and expand your territory, this guy complains about casualty rates but then doesn't take into account other historical factors. For instance, whenever, the Diadochi powers lost a huge field battle, they usually resorted to diplomacy, paying tribute or arranging marriage alliances, that latter of which isn't possible in EBII since the princess agent has been removed. If this guy was at all interested in 100% authentic historical reality, then the Seleucids would hand over almost all of Anatolia to the Romans after losing the Battle of Magnesia. While we do have forced diplomacy, that would be an absurd move for any player, especially since it would have to go to Roman allies and client states instead of being directly controlled right away by the SPQR faction.

    Basically, he's complaining more about the M2TW engine than EBII itself. I wouldn't worry much about his criticism. Tell him to go eat a big fat banana and take a hike.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Good to see another man of the /k/ube. The fact of the matter is that EB2 provides the most accurate recreation of ancient battles, even more so than AGEOD games. You'll find that decisions and results are in line with the "Lost Battles" philosophy.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    sorry but this debate on EB struggling 'to portray actual warfare in it's time period' faithfully seems to be blown out of proportions. the original critic did say the following:
    The EB games spend a colossal amount of attention on things like unit looks and differentiation between the factions down to the level of common shield devices. I can't fault them for that. However, they're still tied to the Total War combat engine, and all of the historically inaccurate crap that implies.
    so it has little to do with the mod and all to do with vanila imho. if anything, this should have been posted on CA's official website, me thinks

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    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    The question is: will we have any time in the future a better engine to portray the historical warfare (and strategy)?
    After what I have seen in the newer TW games, I doubt it. The mechanisms in the R2TW or ATW are much more arcade than in the M2TW. The EBII future is to be played for many years.
    It's a similar situation like with the Civilization series. The Civ5 and Civ6 are much inferior to the Civ4 as far as historicality is concerned (at least imo) and this makes mods like Realism Invictus or Pie's Ancient Europe providing the best historical experience ever.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Hot take: You wouldn't want to play a truly faithful representation of ancient battles and that's just from a video game perspective, not even mentioning virtual reality or some such thing.
    ORANGE MAN BAD

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaytaninc View Post
    Hot take: You wouldn't want to play a truly faithful representation of ancient battles and that's just from a video game perspective, not even mentioning virtual reality or some such thing.
    I mean, yeah, imagine spending half a year of your actual life waiting for the outcome of a siege in the game against a Greek metropolis like Rhodes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    I'm also going to play EB2 for years precisely because there doesn't seem to be any realistic historical battle games coming up. Exact casualty percentages, rallying after a rout or the speed at which battles take place are minor criticisms compared to things other games get completely wrong.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    I play battles at 0.1 speed, the big ones take 4-5 hours. That's realistic, right?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Not unless you camp several kilometers from your computer the night before

  16. #16
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    It's better to be roughly right than completely wrong. Immersion is always personal but I think you may argue which settings feel (slightly) more "historical" and which are more arcade.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    If you want more realistic (lower) casualty rates for the AI just press "end battle" when you win like I do, instead of chasing down the enemies to the last man. And release captives. It's really simple.

  18. #18
    Libertus
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    How could it even occur except as some vast MMO rts type game considering the tens of thousands of men that make up actual warfare, ancient and modern. Atilla led, what, 40,000 men at the peak of his leadership and in single battles? When we look at Alexander's campaign, he had the elitist mofos out there numbering up to mid ten thousands at times, and no TW game ever gets higher than 4,000.

  19. #19
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dooz View Post
    I play battles at 0.1 speed, the big ones take 4-5 hours. That's realistic, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Beckitz View Post
    Not unless you camp several kilometers from your computer the night before
    Both of you take your damn updoot and well-deserved +1 rep. I bet the guy wasn't even armed and wearing armor when sitting at his computer. I mean, how realistic could the battle possibly be if he didn't personally receive a food ration at his home before it and, after his campaign, a pension for honorable discharge? I bet he didn't even get to plunder and share in the spoils of war. FAKE NEWS BATTLES!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Does EB2 manage to portray actual warfare in it's time period?

    I... wasn't being sarcastic. I literally do. Lol.

    Not in order to be realistic, that's just a nice bonus. I just like it, get to see a whole lot of everything, take a lot of screenshots, timescale matches up with unit-scale in my mind of 1:10 in the game (feels better to automatically think of a 3,240 unit army as 32.4k soldiers), and everything just feels larger scale and more... epic, I guess.

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