I want to highlight as usual, that any numbers you see in the pictures are very work in progress.
Let’s start with the concept and the premise we had for doing this change of a core part of the game. Mercenaries have gone through a lot of iterations over the years to try and solve problems created by the mercenaries themselves, Despite these changes the problems have never really changed. Mercenaries as in how they are currently implemented lets you completely bypass or ignore an entire core feature of the game if you are rich enough. Manpower. And Manpower being cheapened meant that a lot of other features as well lost quite a bit of meaning, like supply limits.
Manpower is supposed to be something you have to budget, just like your treasury, something that becomes exhausted as you fight a heavy war versus your rivals. Mercenaries are supposed to supplement this, being more prevalent early in the game and fade away in their use as your nation modernizes and gets access to way bigger sources of manpower. Fundamentally why the Mercenaries do not act like this, is because they exist in a never ending supply to the player. One example of trying to address this issue was to try and make manpower using regiments more valuable with features like Army Professionalism and special units. However a 0 strength regiment is still 0 strength regardless of how good it is.
Jake and I far back when working on the design threw together some points of what our vision was and what we had to achieve.
- Mercenaries must be in some way finite
- Mercenaries should not be scalable for late game
- A player should not be able to screw over another player by clicking first
So as you know from previous development diaries we settled on the Company mechanic inspired from Crusader Kings and Imperator but with a twist. Let’s go through a bit quickly what this is for people who haven’t read Jake’s old Dev Diaries.
The old way of recruiting mercenaries and how they interact with your armies is gone and reworked from the ground up as part of the 1.30 Update. You now recruit a whole company, that function as a fully individual army only consisting of mercenary regiments. As you buy a Mercenary Company you also buy the accompanying manpower with that Company giving the Company sort of a finite amount of time fighting for you limited by how well you can manage them. These companies are either seen as “local” or “foreign” and the foreign ones will have unique modifiers and content revolving around them. When the company becomes disbanded, it used to be unavailable to you for 10 years but this has been increased to 20 years. Another change since last dev diary on mercs is that the upper cap of regiments in a company has now been set to 60 instead of 40. Mercenary Companies are still scaled by the development of the hiring nation, but it has as well been tweaked slightly.
To clarify a bit though, a “local” is a company that does not have a home province, each nation has a set amount of these and are always available to you. The foreign ones have a home province and can be hired in your empire if they are within your trade range (not counting stuff like trade winds and such). Foreign Companies also come accompanied with a General and these do not count for your own Leader limit so can be quite handy boost early game for your money.
Since the last development diary covering mercenaries we have done quite a lot of changes besides some number tweaks. What I am covering now wasn’t originally part of our design but something that we’ve been testing as of late.
A big change we’ve done is to emphasize more on the locality of mercenaries. This gives quite a strategic element especially for widespread empires, like colonizers. A Foreign Mercenary Company is recruited from their home province and the further away you recruit from that home the longer time it takes for that mercenary company to form up there. What provinces within your control you can recruit these companies on is determined by your trade range calculated from the companies home province. Most of the base values of the mercenaries will also be now based on their home province, like technology groups and so on. All of this to give a sense of locality to them.
What we want to achieve is that you wouldn’t hire some German Jaegers to fight in India, unless you are willing to transport them all the way over there as well. What we want to promote is inspired in part by history, where the Brits would hire local manpower to fight in India for the most. But we were also solving a problem where you had access to so many Mercenary Companies that it became a non issue again. In essence previously Purbiyas would appear in Paris fully ready to fight another European power in just a matter of days.
Some other changes are the cost of Mercenaries which have been heavily rebalanced. They are no longer as expensive as they were to more fit their new limited nature with manpower. We’ve added some cheaper alternatives for smaller states in the game but with their own drawbacks as to represent their lower pay.
For instance above is the Local Companies available to smaller nations and the one for Free Cities. The idea of these Companies (numbers not final as usual!) are to be incredibly much cheaper to fit the budget of smaller nations, but to compensate they are also not the best of company, being slow to reinforce and slow to regain their morale.
Even though we’ve made Mercenary Companies cheaper we’ve made the over time inflation of land maintenance cost grow faster for Mercenaries. While normal regular troops grow by 2% each military technology you take, the Mercenaries will grow by 8%.
There’s a lot of unique content that has been made now for the Mercenary Companies. Especially for countries such as Hungary and it’s Black Army. Last time we had a lot of [REDACTED] when we talked about it but this time I’m going to tell you more about it.
Hungary has for a long time had some unique decisions and events relating to their historic Black Army founded by Matthias Corvinus which relied more on paid standing mercenaries rather than manpower from the nobility. This is now integrated with the new mercenary system where Hungary early on gets access to unique Mercenary companies to them.
These mercenary companies have events tied to them giving you some unique flavor but they also have a 5% discipline modifier associated with them and are a bit cheaper than other companies.
And when you finally reach a date where the Black Army starts to become out of date historically (This is tied to Age of Reformation) you as a player get a choice to keep them in your employ however at the cost of your Nobility’s faith in you.
We’ve added somewhere around 100 different mercenary companies and several of these are tied to content in the game trying to give them some reliance on the actions of actors in the game. For instance we have the Pontifical Swiss Guard available to the Papal States as a mercenary company now, though quite small, just like the Black Army features a 5% Discipline benefit.
Some other interesting companies to spike your interests are Forlorn Hope that function well like a vanguard, the Dahomey Amazons available to whoever holds Bahomey and last the Hessian Jaegerkorps that become available later in the game and which @Ofaloaf describes as “the perfidious enemies of all God-fearing americans”
So you might be asking why after nerfing Mercenaries so hard, why are we giving them these benefits? Just because we do not want them to be the main fighting force of your nation and be able to scale properly with the growth of your empire, does not mean we want them entirely gone or not keep them interesting to consider. They still fulfill a function as either auxiliary troops or as veteran soldiers that can give a hard punch even though they might not be able to replenish them as well or be as reliable as your regulars. And a nice thing with how they will work going forward is that we can create a lot of unique and interesting content with them.
As I’ve covered before, this is also why we’ve been going over sources of manpower for the player, we are quite happy with the numbers as is but we wanted the player to have a bit more control than just getting a lot of manpower from ideas, hence the changes to Drill, Professionalism and Buildings as some examples. Some other examples are we have reworked how supply limit and attrition modifiers interact to be a bit softer on you. Another change done is changing the overrun mechanics a bit. This is when you have 10x more forces than the enemy at the instant the battle is created, the combat is concluded the first tick and the enemy gets wiped. This still works but if you have enough to actually fill the combat width it is ignored. You will probably lose the battle if you are facing 30 000 versus 300 000, and you might still get stack wiped during the combat lock part, but you won’t get overrun anymore meaning in face of such an opponent you can still lower the sizes of your stacks. Of course mainly that affects multiplayer because I doubt you’ll see AI walking around with stacks in the range of half a million.
Let’s finish with Mercenary-based modifiers and what has happened to them now. I think we have covered this before but I still see the question so I’ll reiterate on it. Mainly this is about Available Mercenaries which was quite desirable previously. This of course no longer exists and has been remade into a new modifier called Mercenary Manpower.
So now instead of Available Mercenaries you have Mercenary Manpower. This modifier increases the amount of manpower a company comes with when they are hired by you. It also increases how many Condottieries you can rent out just like how Available Mercenaries did.
Everywhere you would have had Available Mercenaries previously you will now instead have Mercenary Manpower. And since Mercenaries no longer rely on your FL to calculate how many you can have this is a sort of indirect nerf to several idea sets like Quantity and Offensive/Diplomatic. Let’s give you some examples of changes:
- Switzerland Ideas/Governments been made a lot more Mercenary
- Their government gives +50% Mercenary Manpower
- Their ideas gives +50% Mercenary Manpower
- Their ideas gives -15% Mercenary Maintenance
- Their ideas gives +5% Mercenary Discipline
- Burgundy ideas now gives +50% Mercenary Manpower
- Administrative Ideas now gives +50% Mercenary Manpower
It’s hard to try and figure exactly what I should cover and what to go deeper into, especially also since I have the influenza while writing this, but the good with the bad, it means that I can sit and read this thread free of disruptions and try to help clarify any questions people have as well as I can.
Next week’s development diary I’ll be covering some new religious changes.