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CK2 - Dev Diary #120 - Tech and Combat changes

Hello! In the next patch we will be doing some small adjustments to Technologies and Terrain Combat Modifiers, and today we will talk a bit about those changes. The main objectives were to make deciding what military technologies to invest in a bit more interesting and rebalance the value of terrain with regards to the possible (large) modifiers given by tactics. Before we start, there is the caveat that numbers are not yet final, there might be some adjustments needed after we receive testing feedback.



This is how the Technologies window looks now. City and Temple infrastructure were joined together, while their tax bonus revenue was slightly lowered. Shipbuilding is now an Economy Tech. The Military technologies were changed so now Infantry and Cavalry tech increase morale (up to 40%) and defense (up to 60%) of Infantry and Cavalry units, respectively. On the other hand, Skirmish and Melee technologies affect the Attack value of troops (up to 60%) and decrease the probability of using generic bad tactics. Finally, Military Organization now gives only a low overall bonus to morale (up to 20%) but keeps its importance for Retinue Size, and we added now also Reorganization speed (morale recovery) of armies.

Light Infantry and Elephants, being neither skirmish nor melee specialized troops, do not increase Attack damage. Light infantry base values were bumped a bit to compensate for this. This means that Light Infantry and Elephants will have a bigger impact with low technology, losing a bit of their edge as technology advances. But Light Infantry will also be more relevant in difficult terrain (see below).

Historical Setup of Tech Levels

We also changed the initial values of technologies a little, to be more historically asymmetrical. In the picture above you can see the Constantinople values at game start. As an advanced society, Constantinople can build more advanced buildings, and has increased Military Organization and Legalism. But the Frankish lands will have some superiority in Melee and Cavalry. The Frank/Norman Knights were a fearsome sight on the Battlefield.

Combat Modifiers

The combat tactics interplay can give a bonus of up to 900% to some troop types while making others non-attackers. To make terrain, especially difficult terrain like Mountains, more relevant for a battle, the defender bonus was increased for most infantry types, especially for light infantry (see the picture below).

Narrow Flank is a feature of a battle where the number of enemy troops that can attack is limited by the number of troops on the flank the gets the bonus. We changed Narrow Flank to both become more probable in difficult terrain and be modified in a more consistent way if you have a leader with the Battlefield Terrain Master trait. The effect of Narrow Flank was also extended to the skirmish phase, to have a larger impact in a battle.


We hope that these changes will give you players more control over the battle conditions and thus increase the influence your decisions have over the battle outcome. Together with the tech rebalance, we hope these changes will improve the CK2 experience for both new and experienced players.

Finally, as stated before, these numbers are not final, and if you feel strongly about something, let us know.
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So is this going to be part of a polishing patch, or there is a gameplay focus in it (say coming with a DLC)?
@Tuscany any news if the next big patch will be 64bit or that this move will not be done for Crusader Kings II?
and thus unplayable for me in half a year, with the next MacOS
Finally, Military Organization now gives only a low overall bonus to morale (up to 20%) but keeps its importance for Retinue Size, and we added now also Reorganization speed (morale recovery) of armies.
Does this mean it no longer affects attrition? If so, where is that effect now located (especially with respect to the pagan homeland attrition bonus)?
I'd say this totally upends my understanding of combat, but I've actually never understood combat that much beyond 'Bigger Armies Win', so my understanding remains roughly the same.

I can imagine this might be an exciting change for those who are a lot more into the number-crunching parts of the game.
finally ship building are going back to economy
no more weird situation there are no ship in most of the world on early start
why merge temple with city
why not trade and city
or change to something like heavy infantry building tech light infantry building tech or stable building tech or archer building tech and no more castle temple city infrastructure
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Just be careful not to indirectly make Merchant Republics too OP through this.

Aside from that, I also strongly feel that there's a need to modernize the Tech system.

For instance investing in spymastery for information from various rulers and vassals, or investing technology in building up a diplomatical state with focus on pacts/alliances, good relations and so on. Or an economical state with focus on trade routes and businesses. Or a military state with focus on weapon forging and military tactics.

I don't know, some ideas. But I think that the technology system could be modernized so that you build it towards the kind of Kingdom you wish to create, with focus on the different skills (martial, intrigue, diplomacy, economy, knowledge) etc. And not just blindly filling up the technology bar most broken in the current meta.
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The main issue with knights is that they are extremely expensive. Which is realistic I suppose, but it can be hard to justify to get them. Even as the Byzantines a heavy cavalry retinue is a pain to pay for when they take some causalities.

With buffing light infantry, some consideration needs be given to tribal retinues. As they are even small tribal realms can be very OP just by numbers. Lowering the retinue cap or something there might not be bad.
I like the idea of replacing the tribal army decision with retinues, but the thing wasn't balanced properly

Will you ever give combat tactics another look to iron out some of the quirks? Especially the weird interactions with how special units like horse archers, camels or elephants are counted towards the limits of light cavalry and such for tactics selection. This causes those units to actually be penalized with the most likely tactics.
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Seems like tribal is the way to go now, so many buffs.
Vikings are going to be nearly unstoppable too now. Great leaders from warrior lodges, cheap dispensable units that can quickly overwhelm any units in the skirmish phase.
I'm curious to see if Charlemagne will ever win now in the 1st start date.
Awesome stuff! I think this will add a little more dept to combat.

Any change the cultural technologies get an overhaul as well?

In the picture above you can see the Constantinople values at game start.

This is probably the 1066 start, right?

Also, will this mean the next patch will not be savegame compatible? My ongoing longterm multiplayer game would be way more interesting with these changes, but I don't know how it would translate.
Never really liked how tech works in CK2.
Dunno if it could be more interesting if we got rid of the Cultural, Economic and Military points. Instead, every tech has separate points.
For example:
By constructing certain castle buildings, you increase Castle Infrastructure tech. Also, certain traits of Steward councilors, like Architect, will provide some bonus. Aside from stealing tech from others, those would be the only ways to increase Castle Infrastructure.

Same goes for every other Economy tech. By utilizing good councilors, and by actually constructing buildings, your knowledge for that technology increases.

Siege Equipment increases after every successful siege. Also when your Marshal has a trait associated with it.

Other military techs simply increase with every battle, and depending on which type of units you use the most.

Finally, Culture tech is a bit tricky. Perhaps they can be influenced by certain laws, or whether or not you are at war. Perhaps prestige and piety can have some influence...
While a rework of the tech system is not a bad idea, a buff for light infantry certainly is. It's arguably already the most powerful unit after camels due to its sheer numbers, specially when amassed in retinue stacks, not to mention cost-profit factors. Don't mistake peasants with scythes (medieval light infantry) with combined arms (aka later period "light infantry" that typically was specially skilled as this buff makes the medieval peasants).
I kinda had hoped for a total technological overhaul to bring in some elements from Vicky 2 (actual inventions in addition to just tech levels together with inventors as characters) but ok.
Like for the others the main question for be is now what scope the patch will be and if there will also be an DLC.

One thing though, if terrain is made more important can we get a better way to see the terrain type and effects before the battle.
For example the icon for a potential battle on the map not only showing a + or - because of a river crossing, can you show a clearly visible icon indicating the terrain, or even display a icon for each troop type (light infantry, cavalry, etc.) with a +, ++, -, -- and greyed out to indicate the combined modifiers for it in the battle?
Also make it more easy to see the troop composition of the army like have the total troop numbers by type shown as mouseover.
Now that Shipbuilding is economic tech, will shipyards provide other bonuses/roles other than being galley source? For example, boosting trade or such.
It'd be interesting to see how these numbers work in practice. Though I can already say I'm happy LI are suppose to work better at lower tech levels as they are really bad right now.

I hope combat tactics gets a look at as well. Some of the specialized retinues (looking at you Cataphracts) in particular are absolutely shafted by the tactics system because they are a mix of incompatible troop types in addition to being expensive.