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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Medieval 2 Total War Concentrated Vanilla 0.06

Brown & Pink Birthday Cake by PinkCakeBox from flickr (CC-NC-ND)After some playtesting, well playing really, the testing was just a side effect, here's another release of Concentrated Vanilla. Previous posts: 0.02, 0.04.

This release tries its best at making cavalry less overpowered. The problem isn't really how strong knights are - they're supposed to be given right conditions, just how cheap and versatile they are - all knight army beats balanced army of twice the price in almost every situation.

The first thing that needed to be done was making sieges harder.

  • Walls and gates are 5x stronger. Towers are not. This leads to many interesting tactics where siege engines are used just as a part of strategy, not for one unit of ballistas to take down the walls of a fortress.
  • Towers fire 50% faster, and most importantly the distance needed to activate the tower is now 8x bigger. So a single unit can activate half of the towers in a minor city, and even relatively modest garrison can keep every single tower in a citadel active. The radius used to be almost infinite in previous versions, but I think it's strategically richer this way.
  • Missile infantry (but not cavalry) has twice the ammo. This is useful in field battles too, but mostly in siege defenses.
  • Unlike in previous versions, rams are no longer specially nerfed, gates are strong enough now that it's not really needed.
  • To limit the spy spam loophole, spies cost 2x more to recruit and upkeep.
  • Not really about sieges, but bodyguards are now 1hp, half size, and all cavalry is 50% more expensive in recruitment and upkeep (per soldier, so bodyguard unit ends up 25% cheaper). This makes faction-specific units much more important, and factions more varied.
Campaign balance was significantly changed. Probably the biggest problem with vanilla, well other than the retarded AI, is that a vast compact-shaped empire is the only way to go. So you blitz to get large number of cities, and then by turn 20 nobody can realistically challenge you, unless they band up together for a crusade or something else exceptional like that. I wanted to go for quality not quantity.
  • Everybody moves 75% faster on campaign map. This together with stronger settlement defenses means it's much easier to have empire in non-compact shape. It now makes sense to cherry-pick interesting settlements instead of going for the closest ones because quality didn't matter, and to defend them all later by quickly transporting soldiers from your recruitment centres.
  • King's purse is 2x bigger. Not a big deal to big countries, but it helps small ones a lot.
  • All buildings take 1 turn to build. Except for mines they are all 50% more expensive. This means you can spend your money on developing your existing settlements, instead of just to buying armies and expanding like in vanilla.
  • Merchant trade 50% more valuable.
  • Settlement trade 50% more valuable.
  • Mines are 3x more expensive, and return 3x more money. This all tremendously increases profitability of good and well-developed settlements. In vanilla it was mostly about quantity.
  • Tax effects on settlement growth 2x bigger, so low taxes are +1%, very high are -2%, not +0.5% / -1% like in vanilla.
And finally:
  • Pirates and brigands spawn 4x less often, but stronger by a similar factor. It reduces annoyance significantly without changing balance.
So here's version 0.06. You can also grab older versions if you want.

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