Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome - Dev Diary 3: Combat Rebalance

Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome - Dev Diary 3: Combat Rebalance

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Design Director
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Apr 3, 2000
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Ears up folks, it's time for another Legacy of Rome and patch 1.07 dev diary! This time, I'll reveal what we've done to rebalance combat. All these things are actually in patch 1.07, so you'll get them whether you buy the DLC or not.

To give you some background, we were never entirely happy with the combat system in the game; the outcome was too dependent on numerical advantage and there was little you could do to affect it beside throwing more troops into the fray. Part of the problem was simply the lack of proper random elements. This was fixed in patch 1.06 with more varied, decisive and longer lasting combat tactics. Another issue was that the composition of the Holding levies was largely beyond your control; all you could do was try to focus on Cavalry buildings in your own Holdings if you wanted to try having more Cavalry on the flanks in battle. We have addressed this in part with more specific unit type buildings and cultural versions of buildings. The major fix though, is the Retinue system in Legacy of Rome. Lastly, we realized that the most important tactical consideration for players, and something they can influence, is the choice of commander and the effect he has on the battle. In patch 1.06, we added a new type of trait called "Leadership Traits", and now we're adding even more of them:

  • Flat Terrain Expert
  • Rough Terrain Expert
  • Mountain Expert
  • Desert Expert
  • Holy Warrior
  • Unyielding


The choice of flank leader for the right role is now an important tactical choice with a real effect on the outcome of the battle.

We've also tweaked the combat tactics and unit types a bit more, and made sure that pure archer flanks are not imbalanced, knights are slightly less overpowered, etc. Oh, and all cultures now have a cultural building, but some cultures have the same as others.

Lastly, though not exactly related, I should probably mention that the military AI has been improved a lot, to focus on what's important and avoid attrition.

Hmm, that was a bit short, but it's all I have for you today. Next time: Orthodoxy.
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Design Director
Super Moderator
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Apr 3, 2000
  • Paradox Order
i see the icon for holy warrior is the same as aggresive leader, is it a placeholder and holy warrior will get a new icon? as well as the other new leader traits?

It's a placeholder, yes.


Design Director
Super Moderator
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Apr 3, 2000
  • Paradox Order
How, exactly, were knights overpowered previously? They were so rare (except for military order knights) that I'd think it wouldn't matter either way.

They are not that rare anymore, with heavy cavalry retinues.


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Feb 27, 2007
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I'm not so keen on your first, second and fourth ideas, Leviathan. The first one seems dreadful to me as a modder-- the scenarios I enjoy working on include periods where some successful and prominent generals were not the most powerful landed nobility, and to hardcode in something that limits general selection to just dukes, courtiers of the exact same culture, etc. and so forth detracts from the scenarios I enjoy working on. Why shouldn't my Roman army be able to use a Frankish courtier as a general? Why can't the lowly patrician of Thessalonica lead the left flank against an Ostrogothic army?

If you really want to emulate the dominance of nobility over the skill of a general, a way that enables more flexibility (so I could still field a Gothic courtier as a general in a Roman army) while making it more appealing for a player or the AI to choose a noble with crap MIL skills would to simply give generalships a relationship score. A Duke who becomes a general could maybe a +5 relation with his liege and a -10 malus (pulling numbers out of the air here) if a count or courtier is chosen over him. That way upper nobility could dominate military leadership at the expense of actual skill, a player who wishes to ignore this and field skillful generals could do so for a penalty, and the choice of military leaders is tied back into the broader themes of gameplay in Crusader Kings II, what with vassal relations now being quite important to leadership selection.

Your second idea could lead to some very awkward moments. It would be weird to fight amongst randomized mountains when the armies are fighting in the heart of Mesopotamia, or to be stuck fighting in the midst of a forest near Medina. There should be limits of terrain randomization, at the very least. What's the point in selecting a general with certain terrain traits if there's no guarantee that said terrain will show up for the battlefield, even if it makes probable sense (like a desert in Nefoud)?

Random battle events could detract from pre-battle micromanaging. After the first few times where my careful pre-battle planning is thrown into chaos because an event causes one of my generals to drown in a river or rushes into battle because of a taunt, I'd probably give up planning altogether and just throw whoever into battle the next time around.