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Thread: CA's difficulty in getting big factions right

  1. #1

    Default CA's difficulty in getting big factions right

    It seems to me that the TW formula has always lent itself well to playing as a faction that starts off small, a burgeoning 'underdog' which you steer to greatness against stronger foes.

    In the case of the opposite, however, the 'declining established powers' tend to be less convincing. I guess there are real limitations on how well you can recreate internal instability and administrative difficulties in running huge empires in TW games, considering the series' focus on battles and warfare. Nonetheless, when you look at RTW's Seleucid Empire, ETW's Mughal Empire, TW:A's Roman Empires, it usually seems like they can only barely summon up a couple of paltry armies before inevitably being completely steamrolled a few turns into the game. I always found this overly deterministic, because although these states were on the way downhill in the time when their games start, in most cases they were able to last far longer and put up more of a fight than their TW equivalents. Mods often remedy this, so given that I've only played up to Attila, I wanted to ask fellow TW gamers if you feel it has been the same in more recent titles? And regardless, does this trope ever bother you?


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: CA's difficulty in getting big factions right

    On the one hand I've always seen a big player faction as an inevitable win in pretty much all games except when they start out prebuilt big, mainly because a player's "big" infrastructure is always more sustainable than a prebuilt "big" (unless it is carefully engineered for the AI's quirks typically with in-setting 'unrealistic' resources. On the other hand I think a CA answer to this is inevitably adding cheap drawbacks to player gameplay that makes it sloggy, while adding cheats to the big faction instead of something more fundamental that makes big factions a different set of strengths and weaknesses + the AI more skillfully handling the scale. It's a thin line I don't think CA has ever properly managed, and I don't think it will ever be properly managed until the basic intelligence of the AI reaches a new level so there isn't so much of a distinction between player built big, prebuilt big and AI built big. So I think any improvements to the plausibility fall on this line. Food for thought, I guess.
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  3. #3
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: CA's difficulty in getting big factions right

    I would say that it has actually worsened in the latest games. In Rome I, the Seleucids were always screwed, but that is largely because they were the most unfairly implemented faction. For practical and somewhat contradictory reasons (basically no time/resources to design Central Asia, but Creative Assembly also wanted to add Parthia), the Seleucids are less than half of their actual size and are encircled by inflated enemies. Pontus, Parthia and Armenia were much smaller in 270 B.C. and the Egyptians benefit a lot from their rich and sheltered province and especially from chariots being over-powered in auto-resolve. On the other hand, in Barbarian Invasion, the Roman Empires were designed more carefully. They almost always retreated, but I never saw them getting completely wrecked, despite having to face hordes and an economy purposefully built in a bad manner.

    In Empire, the situation has deteriorated, mainly because there is an immense difference in the wealth of the various provinces. Palestine, Baluchistan etc. are extremely impoverished and basically a burden in the early game. Meanwhile, the Carnatic region is literally drowned in precious gems. So, what happens is that the Maratha can afford large armies in a small front, while the Mughals, with an even smaller force, need to guard essentially the entire sub-continent. However, as the game progresses, the differences between the regions become smaller, depending on how provinces are developed. India has a huge growth potential, which means that an eventually industrialised Mughal Empire will be much more prosperous than the Maratha and their shiny stones. Usually, the Mughals are wiped out, before the first factory has been built, but, if the Maratha are delayed, then the Mughals will most probably prevail. That's what happened in my last campaign as France. The Ottomans on the other hand don't have the same potential and are also crippled by the Bosporus Strait bug, so they are almost always destroyed by whoever dominates central Europe (usually Austria, but sometimes also Poland or Prussia).

    In Rome II and Attila, large factions are doomed for the opposite reason: Wealth is almost identical, so Carthage is almost as rich as the Sahara. Normally this wouldn't cause any problems, but the balance is thrown away, because of how the AI cheats work. Every faction is receiving a standard amount of money, besides its revenue from mining, taxes, trade etc.. That gift, however, presents a huge percentage of their total income. So, if an empire can normally afford two armies and an extra third, thanks to the cheats, a faction half their size will deploy two, one thanks to their "natural" income and the other through cheating. Consequently, the analogy has already been disturbed. Their military ratio is 3/2 instead of 2/1. Considering that larger factions inevitably border several minor factions, they are eventually getting overwhelmed and their numerically inferior troops are defeated in a war of attrition.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: CA's difficulty in getting big factions right

    Yes, I agree, seeing pretty much every major power collapse so easily is off putting for me too. In Rome 2 I could only curb minor factions by using mods that nerf their monetary bonuses and one that gives some factions an artificial edge in autoresolve. Attila is even worse to balance, since a slight nerf for the barbarians may turn them into non-threats (so no fun lol).

    That is one of the (kinda silly, I admit) things that put me off about 2tpy or 4tpy campaigns, like in mods as Stainless Steel or vanilla Attila: major empires fall way too soon (considering the games' timeframe) and too easily, and sometimes to factions like the Garamantians or some random Sassanid satrapy. For example, the Seleucids in R2 and the Eastern Roman empire are almost dead 20 turns into the game. And Rome in vanilla Rome 2 tends to be(at least in my experience) almost harmless and gets dunked on by almost every neighbor. I mean, really.

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: CA's difficulty in getting big factions right

    To be honest, I don't mind the strong small factions in R2TW. The AI is literal crap in defending large areas. I have invaded the Seleucids in R2TW to find all their armies chilling nicely in places without any enemies, as I was eating up cities each turn.

    I believe the problem here is in part of how the game is set.
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    AnthoniusII's Avatar Μέγαc Δομέστικοc
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    Default Re: CA's difficulty in getting big factions right

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    I would say that it has actually worsened in the latest games. In Rome I, the Seleucids were always screwed, but that is largely because they were the most unfairly implemented faction. For practical and somewhat contradictory reasons (basically no time/resources to design Central Asia, but Creative Assembly also wanted to add Parthia), the Seleucids are less than half of their actual size and are encircled by inflated enemies. Pontus, Parthia and Armenia were much smaller in 270 B.C. and the Egyptians benefit a lot from their rich and sheltered province and especially from chariots being over-powered in auto-resolve. On the other hand, in Barbarian Invasion, the Roman Empires were designed more carefully. They almost always retreated, but I never saw them getting completely wrecked, despite having to face hordes and an economy purposefully built in a bad manner.

    In Empire, the situation has deteriorated, mainly because there is an immense difference in the wealth of the various provinces. Palestine, Baluchistan etc. are extremely impoverished and basically a burden in the early game. Meanwhile, the Carnatic region is literally drowned in precious gems. So, what happens is that the Maratha can afford large armies in a small front, while the Mughals, with an even smaller force, need to guard essentially the entire sub-continent. However, as the game progresses, the differences between the regions become smaller, depending on how provinces are developed. India has a huge growth potential, which means that an eventually industrialised Mughal Empire will be much more prosperous than the Maratha and their shiny stones. Usually, the Mughals are wiped out, before the first factory has been built, but, if the Maratha are delayed, then the Mughals will most probably prevail. That's what happened in my last campaign as France. The Ottomans on the other hand don't have the same potential and are also crippled by the Bosporus Strait bug, so they are almost always destroyed by whoever dominates central Europe (usually Austria, but sometimes also Poland or Prussia).

    In Rome II and Attila, large factions are doomed for the opposite reason: Wealth is almost identical, so Carthage is almost as rich as the Sahara. Normally this wouldn't cause any problems, but the balance is thrown away, because of how the AI cheats work. Every faction is receiving a standard amount of money, besides its revenue from mining, taxes, trade etc.. That gift, however, presents a huge percentage of their total income. So, if an empire can normally afford two armies and an extra third, thanks to the cheats, a faction half their size will deploy two, one thanks to their "natural" income and the other through cheating. Consequently, the analogy has already been disturbed. Their military ratio is 3/2 instead of 2/1. Considering that larger factions inevitably border several minor factions, they are eventually getting overwhelmed and their numerically inferior troops are defeated in a war of attrition.
    I will agree with that. Having played Shogun I, MTW I, Rome TW I, M2TW, ETW, Shogun II ,Rome II and finaly Attila TW i can see that the AI gets worst every single game it releases. I comapred MTW nad M2TW AI's and found the old one 200% more realistic. The poorest AI of Rome I compared again with MTW is also beyond comparisson with Rome II and Attila that CA/SEGA developers to solve that AI issues simply changes the physic laws! Since CA/Australia team withdrawn for the mother CA we get worst games in the AI secrion. As modder of M2TW mod i can not say i am happy when comparing even vanilla AI between Rome I and M2TW/Kingdoms. Despite the fact that M2TW/Kingdoms offers some other advandages in teh AI part is far behind than Rome I and if we will compare it with the AI of MTW then we will throw M2TW to garbige can! Armies that can not create their own siege equipment when more than one besiege a city. Now if we compare MTW AI/BAI with Rome II and Attila TW I would say that we bought gorbige from the start. If I would be a CA/SEGA SALES manager i would make a report to the company to fire all those that were responsible for that rediculus games. Armies that wait rain and wind to bring down walls to invade a settlement, settlements without walls or gates to allow the stupid AI to storm in to them. I have no opinion on Three Kingdoms and Troy because i do not own them.
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