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Thread: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

  1. #21

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Are there any guidelines on how to establish faction difficulty? After all, one person's very hard might be one person's medium, depending on a number of factors. Is there a baseline to allow standardized difficulty ratings?

  2. #22

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Well for starters, economic difficulty is one of the largest differences between moderate/easy rated factions and challenging, very challenging and nigh-impossible factions. The Saka for example, can expect to incur anywhere from 40k-60k debt before even getting close to making a 1000-2000 a turn profit. Another factor is the military aspect. The AS have to deal with a variety of threats in the early game, and the Saka start off at war with the very powerful Baktria, who usually attack you as soon as you share a border(which is usually on your 2nd or 1st capture; hopefully your second...). The Lugians are plagued by massive rebel devastation early on, and have a fairly weak/unarmored roster that's very lacking in cavalry, and can expect to incur probably 30-50k or more debt before starting to recover and even when you do recover you will be in a very precarious geographic position and your roster will still be much weaker than many of your neighbors(although it will improve slightly with the time reforms). These are just some simple criteria in identifying what we could classify what makes the game generally more difficult regardless of skill.

    Compare this with Rome, for example: They start off with a strong economy, good starting armies and while there are large rebel stacks in your north, the strength of the Roman roster and the economic strength you have makes for a significantly easier starting game than many campaigns. As well, the south of Italy is easy to capture and control, and once you have all of Italy and Sicily you can either be isolationist or expansionistic, as your power base will be extremely hard to attack(compare this to being a faction like the Boii or Lugians or etc. a faction which is smooshed between a bunch of other factions). You can't really make a strong argument for the Roman campaign being very difficult when you play some of the other more challenging factions. You also probably won't see strong arguments for factions like Carthage, Hayasdan or Baktria to be bumped in difficulty; the latter two are probably going to see a decrease in recommended difficulty, as they start off with VERY good finances. Baktra and Armavir are fabulously wealthy capitals, and they also start off with more than one province(compare this with the Aedui, Aruernoi, Pritanoi, Swebozes, Nabatu, Saba, Numidians, Lugians, Saka, Pahlava, Pergamon, Pontos, Getai, KB, Areuakoi, Leusitane and Taksashila; lemme know if I missed any) which immediately makes life a bit easier. When playing as the Hai, I was able to recruit a couple of extra troops to bolster my starter army, and hire some mercs without going into debt. I was always able to pay my tribute to the AS until I went to war with them(by choice, because Pergamon had started attacking them in the west) and never really had to worry about money during my early conquests.
    Last edited by Genghis Skahn; February 05, 2016 at 12:08 PM.

  3. #23
    jazstl's Avatar Civis
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Armenia


    Economy:
    The start can go two ways, you can recrut things and gati into debt, or you can disband units and have a slow start.
    I tend to opt for the recrutment, which gets me araund 20.000-30.000k into debt, until turns 40-50 my armie size moast of nearbay towns and my economy starts kicking, after its a pice of cake. Thats asuming i dont go into war with any fraction, which is made possible by AS tributes.
    The disband option is a little bit slower, also not so risky, bechoase it is not neccessary to go to war with any faction, until your nation grows.

    Politics and starting situation:
    Its pretty strait forwards, you can take a lot of rebel towns, without provoking nearbay AS, the other factions are Pontos and Sarmatians. Pontos is an ideal first target if u dont want to target AS, ging into steppes is useless. Sarmatians really have only two paths to come south of caucasus, and are easy to keep at bay. (Armenians arent really specialized to fight steppe people, but u have some decent units eary on.)
    Later in game AS can swing two ways, it can get powerful and dangerous, or if caught at two fronts, u can blitz their settlements... Nerbay factions Pergamon in west and Parthia in East can get powerful, but if u dont get into a war with all three u will be fine...

  4. #24

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Economy will change pretty drastically in 2.2, so the economy part will have to be updated a bit as we go along.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Perhaps another way to cut into this topic is to discuss which of the factions is most difficult and which is easiest, and why.

    Of the factions I have played (which is admittedly only a fraction), Sweboz was the most difficult - only one (relatively poor) starting province, and surrounded by large rebel armies with extensive devastation. They also have relatively weak cavalry to start, which tends to make early battles pretty grind-y.

    Rome is by far the easiest I have played, with its multiple rich provinces, isolated starting location, and powerful armies.

    Other thoughts? Which is the most difficult/easiest faction in EBII?

  6. #26
    Cohors_Evocata's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by adun12345 View Post
    Perhaps another way to cut into this topic is to discuss which of the factions is most difficult and which is easiest, and why.

    Of the factions I have played (which is admittedly only a fraction), Sweboz was the most difficult - only one (relatively poor) starting province, and surrounded by large rebel armies with extensive devastation. They also have relatively weak cavalry to start, which tends to make early battles pretty grind-y.

    Rome is by far the easiest I have played, with its multiple rich provinces, isolated starting location, and powerful armies.

    Other thoughts? Which is the most difficult/easiest faction in EBII?
    For most difficult I'd definitely nominate the Lugiones: your unit roster is (imo) a weaker variant of what the Suebi have, you start out surrounded by rebels (with roaming stacks), have no starting economy to speak of (though your units are dirt cheap) and your roster isn't particularly suited to fighting the steppe armies you might face if you choose to expand east (little to no army and a very limited choice in cavalry) or the opponents you might face if you go west (Sweboz and Boii just outclass you). Might just be me not using them right, though.

    Easiest is probably Rome.
    Last edited by Cohors_Evocata; February 08, 2016 at 11:10 PM.
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    My thanks in advance.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Over the last couple weeks, I've tried to play as many different campaigns on the current build as possible, generally to around Turn 20, to get a sense for what the early campaign is like for many different factions. I doubt that I could write up detailed reports for each, but here is the short-hand list I worked up on the early-game difficulties:

    Easy
    Rome - moderate devastation, rich starting provinces, good cavalry

    Moderate
    Carthage - little devastation, many rich starting provinces, good cavalry
    Ptolemies - moderate devastation, many rich starting provinces, good cavalry, hostile Seleucids
    Baktria - moderate devastation, rich starting provinces, superb cavalry
    Armenia - moderate devastation, rich starting provinces, superb cavalry
    Parthia - little devastation, single poor starting province, face-meltingly awesome cavalry

    Challenging
    Seleukids - moderate devastation, many rich starting provinces, good cavalry, many enemies
    Bosphorus - moderate devastation, single starting region, good cavalry
    Pergamon - moderate devastation, single starting region, good cavalry, hostile Ptolemies
    Macedon - little devastation, several starting regions, good cavalry, hostile Epirus/KH
    Epirus - little devastation, several starting regions, good cavalry, hostile Macedon/KH/Rome
    KH - little devastation, several rich starting regions, weak cavalry, hostile Macedon/Epirus
    Saba - moderate devastation, single rich starting region, weak cavalry
    Lusotannan - moderate devastation, single poor starting region, weak cavalry
    Boii - sever devastation, several starting regions, good cavalry
    Sarmatians - moderate devastation, several poor starting regions, superb cavalry

    Very Challenging
    Taksashila - moderate devastation, single starting region, weak cavalry
    Arverni - severe devastation, single starting region, good cavalry
    Aedui - sever devastation, single starting region, good cavalry
    Pritanoi - moderate devastation, single poor starting region, weak cavalry
    Pontos - severe devastation, single starting region, superb cavalry
    Getai - sever devastation, single poor starting region, good cavalry
    Areuakoi - sever devastation, single poor starting region, good cavalry
    Nabateans - moderate devastation, single poor starting region, good cavalry, hostile Greeks
    Numidians - moderate devastation, single poor starting region, good cavalry, hostile Carthage

    Nigh-Impossible
    Saka - severe devastation, single poor starting region, good cavalry, hostile Baktria
    Sweboz - severe devastation, single poor starting region, weak cavalry
    Lugiones - severe devastation, single poor starting region, weak cavalry

    I think that covers all of them. Again, these ratings only reflect the factors I thought most relevant to the first 20 turns or so. Let me know what you think!
    Last edited by adun12345; February 12, 2016 at 02:47 PM.

  8. #28
    Biarchus
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    I like the effort you put into the mod it but why is cavalry so important to you in the first 20 turns? Every faction has enough FM's to have decent cavalry to start with. No comment on other troop types?...
    I do agree with your ratings for the most part, though I haven't played every faction yet.

  9. #29
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hummer View Post
    I like the effort you put into the mod it but why is cavalry so important to you in the first 20 turns? Every faction has enough FM's to have decent cavalry to start with. No comment on other troop types?...
    I do agree with your ratings for the most part, though I haven't played every faction yet.
    Factions with infantry FM's (KH, Lugia, Sweboz, Pritanoi, Saba) don't have good cavalry by default.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    The factions that have "weak cavalry" have infantry (or elephant) FM bodyguards, which I think makes them more difficult to play. Factions that have "superb cavalry" have heavily-armored FM bodyguards, a few of which can win most early battles all by themselves. as you note, most of the factions fall somewhere in the middle, with powerful FM bodyguard cavalry that are useful but not game-winning on their own.

    More generally, I find factions with strong cavalry are easier to play, in the earlier turns especially. Strong cavalry makes it much easier to win repeated decisive or heroic victories, which are often necessary to beat back the multiple rebel stacks surrounding your starting province(s). The starting situation of Areuakoi and Pontos is pretty similar to that of Sweboz and Lugiones in general (single province, pretty poor, surrounded by rebel stacks that are gonna devastate you), but the first two factions have killer cavalry, whereas the latter two get barely any cavalry at all.

    In the longer run, a balanced roster is more important, because you start fighting against enemy factions that can field balanced armies with effective anti-cavalry units, which require a more balanced response. In the early game, though, readily-available quality cavalry is really important; hence why I included it as a category.

  11. #31
    Cohors_Evocata's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    *sigh*, TWC really seems to hate me posting here nowadays. Editing this post to make some more sense now...

    EDIT: OK, so the EB II team really needs some feedback on how difficult the various factions are. I had planned to rework the intro screen to something like this before I went AWOL (I hence don't know if this made it into the mod):
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    What we need is info on both the initial campaign difficulty and the overall difficulty, as well as a breakdown of what makes the faction easy or difficult exactly. There's definitely some data to use in this thread already, but it's several iterations of EB II old by now.
    Last edited by Cohors_Evocata; February 01, 2019 at 01:50 PM.
    I tend to edit my posts once or several times after writing and uploading them. Please keep this in mind when reading a recent post of mine. Also, should someone, for some unimaginable reason, wish to rep me, please add your username in the process, so I can at least know whom to be grateful towards.

    My thanks in advance.

  12. #32

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Hayastan


    Early game difficulty: easy
    Late game difficulty: medium

    Army/units: well-balanced mix of reliable, versatile infantry and simply fantastic cavalry. If there is any weakness at all, it's the scarcity of super heavy infantry, although the Hai have access to heavy axemen and can hire Thorakitai as mercs. They are perhaps not the right faction for phalanx fans as they have access to levy and merc variants, only (the new regional Khaldilae being somewhere inbetween those two).
    But at the other hand you can create pure "steppe-like" armies with lots of horsearchers, lancers (Caucasian lancers!) and heavy cavalry. Or even a "classical greek" style army with lots of hoplites.... plus a frightening cavalry wing.

    Campaign: Great starting position, no initial foes, no initial debt due to the rich mines, no rebel stacks on your initial territory. All this means that the start of a Hai campaign is among the easiest you can have in EB 2.35. Hayastan can choose (almost) freely if and where to expand in the first game stage. Soon enough you'll get in contact with potentially deadly foes, though: Pontos, Sauromatae, Pahlava, perhaps even Bosphorans, Nabataea and Pergamon. And if you stop paying the tribute to the Arche Seleukeia you've got an even bigger problem if your timing isn't right...
    Fortunately you are able to develop a really strong economy to support the armies needed to defend your kingdom. Unlike several other factions in the game you can even construct highways (level 3 roads) after the first reform - they are a real boon both financially and strategically. Their movement boost is crucial for you, as many of your provinces are rather large.

    Hayastan is perhaps the best option for those who want to get conveniently used to horse archer warfare without lacking infantry alternatives - and while having an economy that's not exclusively reliant on raiding early on.

  13. #33

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Great idea Cohors Evocata. Your template makes for a succinct, precise and effective summary of a faction's standard gameplay experience.

  14. #34
    Cohors_Evocata's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by HarkonRules View Post
    Great idea Cohors Evocata. Your template makes for a succinct, precise and effective summary of a faction's standard gameplay experience.
    I appreciate the sentiment, but I can't finish it without feedback on the difficulties.
    I tend to edit my posts once or several times after writing and uploading them. Please keep this in mind when reading a recent post of mine. Also, should someone, for some unimaginable reason, wish to rep me, please add your username in the process, so I can at least know whom to be grateful towards.

    My thanks in advance.

  15. #35
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Pritanoi
    Early game difficulty: easy
    Late game difficulty: not tested (but seems medium at the most).

    Army/units: at the beginning, the troops are of average quality but they’re perfectly fit to conquer the British Islands and to expand into Gaul or Germania. Due to the lack of developed cities, better units - beyond the decent initial army - become more available only after 20 years, but then they come in large numbers. They’re quite reliable medium infantry and cavalry, supported by decent light tribal troops, including slingers-spearmen and fierce tribesmen. The northern and western provinces of the Isles are a good source of other troops. The Kymry, the Kaledonians and the Goidels lack armour but they're perfectly capable of giving a punch in the battles. The truly excellent unit are your generals' bodyguards, also available as recruitable elites: the Arioi. However, this is the only heavy infantry unit available at the beginning. Pritanoi neither have axemen, nor phalanx, nor heavy cavalry. For those, you need to expand into the continent and get access to the exquisite Gaullic and Germanic infantry and cavalry.

    Generals: your (initially) young and able Faction Leader, tigernos Baidagnos, may lead the conquests for 30 years or more, gaining experience and providing his troops with very high morale in battles. His peers are not numerous, but there’re a few new aristocrats coming of age and getting married into the family soon. They may acquire good traits due to kingetos training, foster father supervision, feasting, mercenary service, and druidic education. The family tree is not cluttered with many generals that makes the family management (ie accepting marriages) to be run by the player.

    Campaign: Great starting position with no initial foes and vast lands to conquer. The initial debt can be leveled within one year, the rebels around can be easily dispatched. Britain is not super rich, but after some investment, it will provide a solid economy for the conquest on the continent. You should be able to afford hiring mercenaries already during the initial fight for the Isles. The foes met overseas are likely to be neither be strong nor numerous. Actually, just three of four factions may get in your way before you establish a great (or petty) kingdom, and they’re likely not to be fought at the same time.

    Pritanoi is perhaps the best option for those who want to have a safe start and then conduct expansion from the position of power, including good income sources, access to decent infantry, and few enemy factions. Obviously, there's no risk of being surrounded by enemies and you're likely to fight only one or two enemies at a time. This is also the faction for the barbarian-culture lovers, with many special arrangements, like druidry or mercenary service.

    -------------------------------------------------

    After having played Pritanoi at VH I'd also add the quality of the generals to the faction descriptions. With the EBII mechanics (very low morale of units, cultural requirements for the upgrade of some buildings etc.) you really need access to good characters. The various paths for Pritanoi allow them to have relatively high Command (and Command while attacking) or Influence values. This is actually essential for conquests: your weak troops can hold the line only with this boost from the general (additionally at the vh difficulty I'm playing, the troops get tired fast, in mountains almost instantly, so they're further weakened).
    It also matters how old they are at the beginning: if a faction starts with a young one, he can get educated soon and you don't have a quick succession problem.
    /caeterum censeo: the EBII is a wonderful mod, I'm in awe every time I play it/

    For reference: the Pritanoi units (and the initial ones in Gaul)
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; February 20, 2019 at 02:09 AM.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Aedui (based on about 200 turns of play on VH/VH)

    Early Game: Hard
    Late Game:
    easy-medium

    Army: In the very early game, you are given a pretty fair selection of units who make decent heavy infantry, and eventually you get some good recruitable heavy cavalry as well. The infantry is good at competing with other germanic, gallic, and brtish type infantry. You for the most part keep the same roster throughout the game, with some additions later on and in the early game.

    I have found that the Uassoi, Koxalatoi, Talmes (maybe), and Eporeda Akus all get free slots and qualify as good garrison and skirmishing units. The Uassoi cannot really stand up to other infantry, but have the bonus fighting cavalry trait as well as charge bonus, something most Aedui infantry don't have. The Talmes and Koxsalatoi never really stood out in any conceivable way, they are your basic skirmishers. Eporeda Akus are reliable skirmisher cav, but are nothing extrodinary, and in my opinion just end up getting overshadowed by the far superior Eporeda Donnoi.

    The Gargokladioi and Kingetoi Uisuparanon are decent against other celtic infantry, but I have found fall short against greek phalanxes and even Roman troops. I got into very limited fights with Iberian and Germanic factions, though they seemed to perform well. But the Kingetoi Uisuparonon once made up most of my infantry in a siege defense against Rome, and despite outnumbering the Romans by about 700 troops and peppering them with Javelins and Sling rocks while they desparately tried to get into our gates, we lost the battle, only taking about half of them with us (of a total of 1200 men).

    The Batoroi, Gaisatoi, Arkoi, Nedes Nesamoi, and Eporeda Donnoi are the best and most important units if you want your armies to be able to Resist Rome or other Greek factions, because without these guys all celtic armies would just be really undependable. Don't get me wrong, the other units are important and even capable, they should even make up the majority of your forces, but these are the only units that can generally keep their ground man for man.

    I do want to stress however, that just because I think that all the units I discussed are the only units that can keep your armies "competitive" I don't think that's necessarily wrong or should be changed. To some extent, a lot of fun comes from sometimes having an inferior force with more numbers up against the enemy.

    The biggest weakness of these armies comes in the form of quality units though, as it is often hard to build high quality armies to match the likes of other factions. I would say their biggest strength comes in numbers and cost, and their biggest weakness in quality as the units mentioned above generally have long replenishment rates.

    The numbers don't always work in their favor either. There was one time I was fighting an open battle where I outnumbered the Romans 2:1 with mostly uassoi and kingetoi uisuparanon. My army was easily routed, so much so that I reloaded a save a few turns prior just to better prepare for war against Rome.

    Campaign: The biggest weakness in terms of fun for the aedui is just how easy the campaign gets past about turn 50, when you've likely destroyed the Aurenoi. The Aurenoi on the Hardest difficult will pose a great threat to you for the most part, hell I lost my first battle with them and barely held them off after they put me under siege at my own capital. And I must say, fighting them was a satisfying and rewarding victory. But there is just one problem, after this the game gets too easy. The Aurenoi were the only thing standing between me and all of Gaul, and now that they are gone, none can resist me, as the Rebels in Gaul don't have any large stacks, and some have only about half a garrison. And without the Aurenoi to resist me I conquered all the way to the outskirts of Germania, and keep in mind, I took my sweet time with conquest too. I starved most settlement till they attempted to sally, only for me to beat them back, and once my main army was damaged enough, I would take them back to bibracte and Gergouia to replenish. I wasn't at war with Rome till around turn 150, (in fact, we were allied for most of the game) when they attacked my loyal allies the Swezboz. They did some good initial damage to me until I got my army back from conquering the Pritanoi to which they surrendered some lands to me in a peace treaty while I in turn payed war reparations. Eventually I went to war with them again, which led me to sack Rome and Carry on Brennus's legacy (I mostly autoresolved these battles, so don't ask me how good they were). It was around here that I stopped the campaign.

    Did I have fun conquering the 24 odd settlements? Absolutely, especially when I was fighting other factions (I fought the Boioi, Pritanoi, Aurenoi, Senatus Populusque Romanus, and Safot Sotim Biqarthadast to varying degrees). That being said however, it most certainly wasn't my favorite campaign. I felt like I had too much upward mobility after defeating the Aurenoi, I just became so very powerful, and so very unstoppable. I'm hoping this changes with the introduction of the Belgae tribes, but we'll inevitably see.

    I'll finish by mentioning the government buildings. I definitely like them (especially how condfederating a settlement takes away authority from your leader), but I think that Military occupation is way better than Tributary state, and tributary states are somewhat useless for me. I'm sure there is a good argument for them, but personally the trade penalty those states suffer just makes them far less worth it in my opinion.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Version 2.35


    Hayastan (M/M), 550 Turns

    Early Game Difficulty: Medium

    Late Game Difficulty: Easy

    Army/Unit: The strength of the Arkah's armies lie in a healthy range of cavalry, outstanding heavy cavalry in the Aznvakan, and competent if unimpressive infantrymen. The chief reason why I label the Late Game Difficulty as Easy is because the passage of time mostly works to Hayastan's benefit. As the family tree expands, you will essentially have cheap access to super-heavy cavalry units. Many times I have started a rout with the mere threat of being charged in the flank or back by the Tiknazor or Aspet (this will be mostly prevalent in the beginning, when you fight against the Eleutheroi, it's rarer against the other factions.) A few times they have routed the enemy by charging their weak units head on, breaking them and leaving their elite vulnerable to encirclement.

    But what of the enemy? Surely reforms benefit them as well? Well, the Iberians, Romans, and Celts become more formidable, but they are far away. At turn 550, my border and the Roman border have only just touched near Getia. What of the Hellenes, who adopt the Thureos to fight more effectively on rougher terrain? In my experience, I have benefited much more from the spread of the Thureos than they. I might not receive new elites like the Thorakitai, but the amount of Thureophoroi that can bolster my ranks more than make up for it. Once I have claimed the Upper Satrapies and built (or took advantage of existing) indigenous garrisons; I can create a full stack of Kardakes and Phalangitai and still have a reserve for reinforcement.

    Hayastan infantry follow the general rule of Eastern Infantry in losing when going toe to toe with Western Infantry, with the notable exception of the Caucasian axemen and Dranik Gund. Those two far surpass regular infantry, and can even match the Hellenistic elite. The other tribals are better, but not able to overcome heavy units like Hoplitai. On Phalangitai, the Khalidae can stand against regular Phalangitai (perhaps they lose out more often than not,) but cannot match the Agema.

    Once I have a reliable reserve of Dranik Gund, I'd often use them in the vanguard with cavalry and skirmishers. With proper support, they have every base covered. Armoured as they are, they will win most shootouts unless severely outnumbered. Using cavalry and other skirmishers to soak up/counter-charge charges from enemy cavalry and infantry, they can withdraw or engage.

    While regular Hayastan cavalry is better than non-elite Hellenistic cavalry, all your initial foes will have access to the same cavalry as Hayastan (Iranian and Anatolian), so it won't be a massive boon until later. Though come to think of it, nobody will have access to Aspet unless they betray you, and nobody will have Tiknazor even if they betray you.

    Campaign: Your position next to the Seleukid behemoth may look intimidating, but in fact the Seleukids have little interest in eliminating you as long as you pay your tribute. This leaves two wide roads ahead of Hayastan: war against the rival powers of Anatolia, or seeking to claim the title of Great King for Yervand. Since there is a scripted scenario where the Seleukides can offer peace (or force it,) you can even switch between these two roads at vital stages of progression. It has also lead to an accidental case of cheese, where you can seize valuable territories from the Seleukides, and the script where your independence is recognized kicks in, forcing a peace where you hold the most valuable territories of the empire. I thought the war would swiftly resume, but the AI gave me enough time to get everything in order (including other wars,) and finish the Seleukides.

    The scripted army the Seleukides send your way isn't too formidable, but the initial confrontation might serve as a dose of cold water as it's unlikely you will have fought anything as formidable as Hellenistic royal units by that point. I did take a solid loss once because I underestimated the Agema, and they tore my line apart before I could recover. However, it is also fairly easy to deprive the Seleukides of their Basilike Patris. I decided to isolate Antiocheia and conquer Mesopotamia and Babylon first. Upon succeeding, the scripted peace kicked in, and I actually managed to buy Antiocheia for...10,000 Mnai, I think. After this, the Seleukids could no longer produce elite units *and* I became a naval power in a few months thanks to the shipyards of Antiocheia.

    Once you seize the old empire, you can comfortably lay claim to the title of King of Kings as you will be the most powerful potentate in the world. The old empire has numerous wealthy territories which have few equals in the West on an individual basis. With mining complexes, multiple lanes of trade, and advanced roads you have Syria, Mesopotamia, Hecatompylos, Media, Elymais, Persis, and Lydia each giving about 5000 Mnai per turn. Under my better governors one of these provinces would give an extra 1000-2000 mnai. As of my late, I have a complete Navy, twice as many soldiers as the rest of the game world combined, and I still make 10000+ Mnai per turn.

    What makes the Early Game Medium instead of Easy, is that your starting region is relatively undeveloped, it's a bit of a challenge to figure out an optimal strategy, and you are in wild territory that might spawn an extra rebel stack to deal with, even in Imperial Hayastan.

    To summarize, Hayastan is a secure start where you can bide your time, or boldly strike out. Your forces may evolve in unexpected ways as time passes and your empire grows.

  18. #38

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Version 2.30


    Ptolemaioi (M/M), 300 Turns


    Early Game Difficulty: Easy

    Late Game Difficulty: Medium* in this playthrough, I would predict many would label their experiences as Easy.


    Army/Units: Ah, Hellenistic armies, the most uniform yet varied armies in the game. Their factional troops emphasize Melee, and specialize in Hammer and Anvil tactics. The regular infantry are well protected and possess good morale, though one can argue they lack killing power in comparison to the Romans and Iberians (Peltastai Makedones are a notable exception to all of these except they do have good morale). Phalangitai exemplify this, being difficult to break thanks to high morale and superior numbers per unit, but are slow and cannot be relied on to kill regular/elite units (Agema Phalangitai manage to overcome these two flaws). Melee cavalry possess a powerful charge, but are comparatively fragile next to their western counterparts. While you can recruit militia/levy versions of your units to pad out your army and facilitate Hammering and Anvilling, I would recommend Agema units in their place whenever possible. The Agema are among the best units in the game, though a rare few elites can reliably break them, and can take on challenges well beyond their pay grade.

    While the Ptolemaioi does have unique factionals to recruit from Egypt proper, I haven't gotten much use out of them. This campaign was very hectic, and units I could replenish directly on the battlefront were much more useful than units I'd have to ship back and forth from Egypt. Thus I've relied almost entirely on Hellenistic and Anatolian troops. You might find yourself with lighter formations compared to enemies from Hellas and Pergamon, so refused flank and mixing cavalry and infantry is optimal, but unnecessary.

    The Thureos reforms are supposed to benefit the Hellenistic infantry game above all else, if Phalanx vs Legion debates taught me anything. Unfortunately, the Medieval II engine does not do Phalanxes well. The actual flaws of the Phalanx style are not done well here, the best case seems to be when a Phalanx is charged by cavalry. Whether that Phalanx is well rooted can determine whether they hold their ground and start cutting down foes after impact, or are fractured by the blow. Otherwise, the Hoplite phalanx is little different from formations of Thureophoroi. Thureophoroi have javelins, but these are quite weak compared to Pila and Soliferri. The impact of the change in units on your logistics is also an annoyance.

    The biggest benefit from the Thureos reforms is the expansion your cavalry, both in numbers, and capablities. Hippakontistai are replaced with better equipped and better spirited Thureophontes, and you also receive elite javelin or lance cavalry types alongside the Hetairoi and Klerouchikon Agema.

    Thanks to their proximity to Syria, the Ptolemaioi have easy if limited access to Hellenistic Kataphractoi, the ultimate hammer to their anvil. Especially useful when dealing with an enemy with a lot of ranged units.

    Campaign: The turbulence of the Ptolemaioi campaign is surprising. Not only do the Ptolemaioi have their current investments in Anatolia and Syria, bringing them into conflict with the Seleukids, Pergamon, and Pontos; but they also start at war with Makedonia *and* have Sicily and Cyrene as a conflict zone with the Qarthadastim. So yeah, the Pharaoh has a lot of work cut out for him...or her. Your starting fleet is the second most impressive in the game, easily able to overwhelm both the Seleukids and the Makedones. Your starting armies, less so, with your regulars and mercenaries scattered everywhere and the bulk of your forces are levies. To the experienced TW player, it's enough to overwhelm the enemy in every current theater. While Egypt is fairly wealthy, it can't bear the burden of a competitive fleet and army alone. You need to seize territory and trim your fleet as soon as possible. Though perhaps one day an isolationist playthrough might be fun.

    All of this might overwhelm somebody who's not familiar with strategy games or the TW system, your initial stock of mnai can disappear surprisingly quickly. Nonetheless, you do have all the tools you need to succeed, your superior navy can grant a mobility advantage that supersedes the weaknesses of your army, and you have more than enough wealth to mobilize the rest of your Agema.


    Egypt is a very central position, you can expand in every direction you can imagine, but each direction may need more investment than you'd expect.


    Egyptian governors are also intellectually competent and easygoing, but are very prone to hedonism and gambling. There's also an additional complication in that the Basileus can't leave Alexandria, lest he inspire unrest. This also means that if circumstances contrive to bring a Basileus that has little combat experience, he will have little authority. Given that Hellenistic characters often have low loyalty values, and Egypt already has an extensive domain where characters can spend a fair amount of time in transit, this can be a serious setback. It also means that the Diadokhos will almost always be the premier generalissimo.


    Carthage is actually a pretty big problem for the Ptolemaioi, and a contributor to the serious strategic challenge that inspired my asterisk. The AI Punic Wars were much more favourable to Carthage than history, so you can't rely on the Romans to make the Carthaginians go away (not until the Marian reforms, at least.) As a result, the Carthaginians will repeatedly send armies to Cyrene to claim it. Judging from what I've seen of the AI Ptolemaioi, if you let them have Cyrene, then they will begin to aim for Egypt itself. All of this means you need a military investment for the African west. But that wasn't the biggest problem. The Carthaginians also sent numerous navies of all sizes to savage my economy. So I also needed a massive naval investment that nearly equaled my army investments to keep them from naval dominance. The Carthaginians are one of the biggest enemies to the Ptolemaioi, second only to the Seleukides.


    *Note that this campaign's late game had a unique condition that may not be common on other runs. Despite losing Syria and Anatolia in the early game, the Seleukids made a major recovery. They had conquered all of Arabia except the Nabatean capital, and were close to claiming the entirety of Pontic and Armenian Anatolia. I believe they had up to 11 full stacks in a front spanning from Kappadokia to the Sinai. It's an amusing duality with my Hayastan playthrough above. There, I've overestimated the Seleukides, my crippling blow proved decisive. Here, I had thought the Seleukides would fall apart without Syria and Anatolia, but they had rallied and posed the greatest challenge I've faced playing EBII.



  19. #39
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by adun12345 View Post
    Nigh-Impossible
    Saka - severe devastation, single poor starting region, good cavalry, hostile Baktria
    Sweboz - severe devastation, single poor starting region, weak cavalry
    Lugiones - severe devastation, single poor starting region, weak cavalry
    That's an interesting assessment and you're almost certainly right about the first 20 turns of the game. While the Lugiones and Saka usually get crushed in the half a dozen full campaigns I have played for EBII, the Sweboz always build up their strength, expand like a snowball rolling down a hill and gradually develop a northeastern European empire by about turn 500 or so. In my Koinon Hellenon, Epeiros, Makedonia, Pergamon, and Roman campaigns, without fail the Sweboz were always the main enemy in Europe once I conquered the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Western European regions. The Pritanoi would always have some holdings in continental Europe after uniting the British Isles, but I've managed to conquer the Pritanoi in each of my campaigns going into the 1st century BC. On the other hand, fighting the Sweboz is basically like whack-a-mole, because they can expand into the Baltic and Pontic Steppe regions far outside my empire and maintain a stiff resistance in northern and eastern Germania, where recruitment options become limited for Greeks and to some extent the Romans.

  20. #40
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Just as an aside; limited recruitment options making it hard for certain factions to operate in certain regions is working exactly as intended.

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