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Bring back flanks. Make the supply system more relevant. Bit strange there is no foraging button or mechanic. Armies should be expensive to field as they were historically. It feels like the activities cost more than armies. I think there is potential in the CK3 system but it has not been touched that much. Considering that war is a primary mechanic in the game, I think its only fair that a rework or update should come eventually. Overall, there's alot of things that could be added or adjusted.
 
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I do like the idea of safeguards to limit repetition of the same event within X period of time.
That would require a drastically large number of new events to be written, especially in the area of schemes where there are maybe 10 different ongoing events per scheme type and one can easily get 3 of them per year per scheme. Even only running one of the same type of scheme at a time a player can easily see the same event multiple times in 5 years time. With the ability to run multiple identical types of schemes at a time via perks/royal court types/artifact bonuses repetition gets ridiculously more frequent and annoying.

Same would apply to combat/battle events, as a player could easily be involved in a tremendous number of situations where those events would be fired.

Also, as so many others have mentioned in threads about events - very few of the existing events adequately take into account the context in which they are being fired to determine if it is even appropriate. Authoring more events to dilute the repetition chance would mean that we would be getting even more poor quality general purpose events that at best get ignored by the player base and at worst completely ruin any sense of immersion in the game.
 
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That would require a drastically large number of new events to be written, especially in the area of schemes where there are maybe 10 different ongoing events per scheme type and one can easily get 3 of them per year per scheme. Even only running one of the same type of scheme at a time a player can easily see the same event multiple times in 5 years time.
Yes, that's why I said the design would have up become comfortable with maybe just not having an event sometimes, for times when every otherwise- eligible event is on cooldown.
 
If we must keep levies mostly as they are, then I'd like them to ALSO be a resource for MaA.

This means that if my MaA cap is 1200 men, to fill this cap I must reduce my available levies by 1200. This makes Levies a secondary cap on MaA and makes gaining Levies far more rewarding, because they indirectly allow you to field more MaA if you have the money.

This is something I haven't figured out how to mod to test out, unfortunately. If the Devs do not agree with this design, it would be a big boon to allow us to mod it for ourselves.

I've modded the MaA innovations to only increase regiment sizes, instead of also increasing the number of regiments you can have. This had wonderful cascading effects, such as making the decision of which MaA you choose be more impactful, making levies a bigger part of your army, making army stack sizes not look like Napoleonic warfare by the 1300, and it even made the jumps between Title Tiers more pronounced, specially from King to Emperor in the mid to late game where it meant one more MaA regiment of size 800+, which was a big percentage increase in your army power.
 
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I think probably the biggest problem I have with CK3 warfare mechanically is that currently, rulers don't seem focused enough on actually defending their realms. At the moment, the AI has this tendency where, if it's unable to engage you in a direct confrontation, it will simply refuse to fight you and instead try and carpet siege your terrain while leaving their capital completely undefended.

This is ridiculous? I don't really think I should need to elaborate too much on why this is so much of a problem. It's actually been the biggest obstacle to my enjoyment of this game for a really long while, because obviously a lot of the gameplay tends to be hoovering up small realms as a larger kingdom - since you tend to consolidate land, wealth and military strength over time, the time period where you're evenly matched with surrounding states tends to end quickly. It turns what should be something quick and simple into something tedious and frustrating.

Honestly all excellent points. Skirmish is, to my mind, critically under-utilised given how much of medieval warfare this actually covered vs. pitched battles. As a devoted fan of weird remote mountain people I find it very, very frustrating that you can't defend tiny isolated pocket realms by refusing to engage in pitched battle.

I do sort of wonder if this is even possible to do that effectively with the unit micro system in a way that doesn't feel tedious and unfair. Like, in a game where you move a stack onto a tile with an enemy stack, is there a way of making it so that even when you outnumber the enemy and have better stats, they can randomly defeat you in the skirmish phase and it still feels engaging and fun?

This kind of warfare seems like it's best modelled as an attrition penalty on unoccupied territory, but I feel like ways of making that visible and interact with existing troop placement and MaA systems aren't really an easy problem to solve.

My two cents on warfare in this game is that, largely speaking, not much of the gameplay loop is actually spent in wars. You spend a majority of the time playing this game building up your holdings and waiting to have enough currency to take certain actions. As a result, I feel the most impactful changes to the military gameplay loop would come not in making the act of warfare more engaging - while it's important to still do so where possible, I feel like a lot of warfare's problems are too deeply encoded into the game and too fundamental to solve - but in making the act of organizing your army more interesting and more of an active process you have to engage with regularly.

Adding content like Accolades and specialized holdings with stationed MaA actually did more to get me thinking about the content of my army and the type of warfare I wanted to engage in, and was personally a more interesting change than a lot of others in the game's history. I also think such a change has a lot of room to add historical flavour: being able to much more dynamically change how you get troops would add much more variety to a game that currently has an identical system even in countries that handled things incredibly differently.

I can't even have slave-soldier armies as Muslim states! What has the world come to?
 
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Battle events should be added IMO. I think we need a much deeper warfare system. While I understand them saying the changes would have to be core to the game and not everyone wants them, a simple rule can fix that I would think.

I really miss how you could play as a true warrior king with societies in CK2, the the events that came up during battles. It was really pretty awesome. To me it added to the "story".
 
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I think more representation of how the loyalty/morale of the army is maintained long-term combined with more "home-front" management of war would fit in really well with the game. Right now your army isn't really made of "people" that you're responsible for leading, and I don't just mean characters. The game includes more abstract representations of people through systems like Culture and Religion, which characters engage in, and armies simply aren't a part of that. Army management is just about buying crossbows and spears and horses and catapults and what have you, in a way that is not just ahistorical, but doesn't fit well with the rest of the game imo. And there are incongruities between what is said in game vs what exists in game that illustrate that nicely. Knightly fighting ability is supposedly meant to represent not just the individual knight, but a full retinue they lead, despite the fact that the only prowess-related modifiers have to do with personal fighting ability and the lack of that retinue being quantified for sieges, supply, etc. The Iqta represents land grants for more high-quality soldiers, but just gives buffs to the stats of high-quality soldiers. And so on and so forth. These aren't bad gameplay abstractions by any means generally speaking, but they don't fit into a game that has socio-political simulation and personal leadership as its main focus. I think that representing the army less materially and more as an institution you have a relationship with would do a lot of good for the game, as well as providing a lot of levers and dials to play with for things like laws/governments and vassal contracts. While we refer to (for just some examples) a Druzhina, the Tagmata/Themata, the Early Medieval Fianna, a "feudal" levy, a town militia, and the military orders and pilgrims that the Crusader States relied on in a number of ways as all "armies" they were different not just in terms of equipment and fighting skill but in organizational principles, relationship to the sovereign, and relation to the realm at large even beyond fighting in wars.

I also personally think that the system would benefit a bit from being more like the traveling system where you would plan out a campaign and deal with stuff along the way or fall back and rethink things, so that some of the twitch micro could be replaced by a greater density of decision making at any given point. The game puts you in command at something of a zoomed-out operational/logistical level as far as the map is concerned, but you don't really have a decision space that reflects that, what with very abstracted sieges and logistics, twitch control of army movement, etc. However; it sounds like that's on the pretty far-fetched side of things.

Also more stuff to do with sieges would be cool, given their primacy in warfare, treachery, negotiation, heroic duels in mines, logistics etc. but I'd worry about the micro overhead.
 
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Currently one of the minor problem is the massive blobbing of armies. Large amount of levies are on fields and the AI can't handle the supply issues (i still want the AI to develop their realm much more).
If i understand this correctly when a war break out, 1 main army is made on both side and all allies converge on this main army. I think this is fine if the war is between small realms. Like county vs. county/duchy vs. duchy/duchy vs. county. The war involves few amount of participants and concentrated around the small war goal.
In large wars between kingdoms, empires and holy wars it needs a bit more complex system.

As an example, now a crusade is called for Jerusalem, those who are close to it meet with the pope's 1st army and try to land together with large penalties where most of the enemies already concentrated. This most of the time lead to a quick defeat, and the crusaders who raised their armies far from the pope, slowly trickle in 1 by 1 and promptly annihilated.

A few ideas:
Army leaders/war phases/campaing map
20240210105527_1.jpg
War participants are given their own objectives in the war. Kings/emperors select which counties they attempt to capture/defend. Vassals join their lieges' goals. Independent ally duchies and counties join to one of the kings/emperors' goals. These armies are remain in their own objectives most of the time.
The point here is to not have 60K+ troops all blindly follow 1 army leader, but all separated to multiple leaders. Also to have multiple smaller battles and not 1 decisive battle

War goals have a reasonable time limit. At the start of the war leaders with the highest titles select lands they will try to conquer. After the time limit expired, each leader will consider how well the war is going and adapt to the situation, select new goals, if needed merge armies with other leader to replenish losses or match the strenght of the enemy they are facing.

Buffer fronts

Army groups that consist multiple smaller vassal armies should concentrate in counties within the supply limit, before heading to enemy territory. In case of crusades they could start this within the preparation phase.

Army composition

Professional MAA group
They are the more mobile group protecting the other two/objective and attempting to defeat nearby enemy levies/MAA groups but do not chase them endlessly. They have to remain close to their war goal.

Siege group (levies + siege MAA).
They do not chase enemies, their only goals is take holdings.

Levy groups
They hold the flanks of the siege army/ holdings. If needed they reinforce other groups that are in a battle. Raise only as many as the war goal holdings can supply

Mercenary groups
They remain independen groups and do not merge with other armies. If an enemy hired a mercenary group, more money could be offered to have them switch sides.

Holy orders
Either remain separated (can not merged to outher groups) or be able to merge with MAA groups.
20240210104900_1.jpg
 
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I think in regards to levies, my thoughts would be that if they communicate on the map that particular options are immediately different, then they'd be very nice options to have. The two biggest examples in my mind would be Anglo-Saxon fyrds and steppe horsemen.

Under Alfred the Great, the Anglo-Saxons created fortified military towns called burhs, and from them pulled levies called fyrds (with the local lord having his own personal retinue on top). This made administration much easier, and rather than taking all the men for a campaign and having them return to the fields over winter, they could recruit a number of men that would balance those needs and let Anglo-Saxon lords fight year-round.

This later had other analogues, namely the 'select militia' form of army, where you only call up the general levy in a crisis or to man the walls during local sieges. I could see certain governments having a 'militia' army type, available to certain cultures, with smaller levies that have higher stats than the baseline, representing their experience on longer campaigns.

Steppe horsemen, on the other hand, were all on horseback. This was a massive tactical advantage when combined with the invention of the recurve bow, which allowed 'wheel-and-charge' tactics where the army's horsemen would charge into close range, firing arrows both there and back, which let them use their bows as a primary killing weapon instead of a means of attrition and forcing enemy armies to approach (which in turn meant infantry armies were very vulnerable to these tactics if they didn't have counter-tactics). I think that a 'horsemen' levy type, possibly even with the ability to counter levies, would make sense- there are other cavalry-heavy polities historically, particularly in the Sahel, but they'd be better-represented as low-levy with a lot of cavalry retinues than cavalry levies with infantry retinues at a quick glance.

I also think that this would be easier to communicate to the player than current systems. Currently, steppe nomad strength is displayed by the ultra-powerful horse archer retinue, but I think this produces gamey phenomenon like nearby polities seeking to have horse archers as a primary component of their infantry armies via culture. Horse archers were used as retinues or mercenaries, sure, but they weren't as powerful as (say) heavy cavalry; it was the tactics of the army as a whole, rather than the strength of individual horse archers, which led to Mongol success.

Rather, I think a simple way to communicate it would be an icon on any 'special' armies like militia, nomad armies, and possibly other types such as standing armies or mamluks. Something like a bronze 'round-shield' icon to the right of a fyrd/militia to communicate 'hey this army is a bit stronger than usual, be careful', or a golden horse on a nomad army to communicate 'hey maybe don't fight these guys on open ground', would visually communicate that you're fighting an army that's different in kind rather than different in size or quality.

Similar could be done for other organisational systems I'm not familiar with. And it'd be an excellent way to have different areas of the map feel culturally distinct. A major component of the game's interactions with other cultures are via warfare, and the current system of 'different retinues' is too granular to display on the map, particular in multi-polity wars like Crusades. If different cultures or administrations have armies which are marked as different on the map, even before you zoom to the models, it'd be a fun way to realise 'I'm not in Kansas any more' or 'Wow look at all these countries these armies are from'.
 
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Real-talk: I don't think we're ever removing levies. As with everything core to warfare, such a change would be like... a major & fractal risk to most of the title, except even more so than usual here, because how much of the title is set up and balanced (such as our balance is) around constant levy growth, around the AI and most players guessing a stack's strength by its number, around the fundamentals of them being the basic system for troops and MaA being an auxiliary one. And, yeah, players who are quite good at martial stuff will just rely entirely on MaA, but the AI doesn't and neither does most of the playerbase. It is, I'm afraid, a distinct minority who understand combat mechanics well enough to be able to either avoid levies entirely or even really utilise them well.

Doing so might be technically possible with enough time and budget, but personally, and as one of the folks on the team most likely to advocate for warfare mechanics, I do not see the gains to be had from this vs. the huge technical, design, and onboarding risks.

I'll also say that I think they get kinda scapegoated as the root cause of simplicity in warfare because they're visible. Warfare suffers because we can't easily make adjustments to it, with the one exception being MaA. MaA are the most interactive element and therefore the one that players have the most agency over and which we can tune the easiest, which means they just shine significantly brighter than the rest of the system. If someone were giving me the scope to make a mid-sized warfare DLC, I think the approach I would want to take wouldn't be to remove them, it'd be to give them relevance and purpose by expanding areas of the system other than MaA, which is what we really struggle with atm.
But can you make it so that like... a Mongol army will fight different than a crusader army? MaA are not the answer because they are like elite units within the army (they are the rulers' personal troops, not the realm levies).
 
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With chapter three coming in soon in really hoping we get some minor tweaks to warfare, especially warfare modding. I know implementing huge changes to war will probably take a while so it would be cool if at least modders could add effects like damage, destroy, add troops etc to armies because that's kinda the biggest hurdle for a lot of total conversion modders out there.
 
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around the fundamentals of them being the basic system for troops and MaA being an auxiliary one. And, yeah, players who are quite good at martial stuff will just rely entirely on MaA, but the AI doesn't and neither does most of the playerbase.
I don't think this is a good hill to die on. I can understand removing or re-working levies to be an exceptional amount of work, but the design fundamentals you've described are contradictory. Levies are cannon fodder. They are by definition the auxilliaries of an army at best, but actually useless on average.

It really doesn't take absurd levels of modifier stacking to make MaAs into a self sufficient standing army. Two cultural traditions is all it takes. Sometimes one. And the more features you guys add over time, the more useless levies are destined to become. There was a rebalance, yes, where MaAs stopped using global modifiers from demesne. But at one point we also didn't have acollades, cultural hybridization, special buildings with MaA bonuses, and so on. It will only get worse from here onwards and I suspect you recognize this because special event troops aren't levies either.

That most of the playerbase uses levies according to your telemetrics is more about how you've successfully communicated developer intent through the UI. People, new players especially, are lead to believe that MaAs and Knights are elite soldiers and an extra. That's what the UI tells them and that's how they treat the game. However it takes very, very little to break that initial assumption. The more DLCs people buy, the more obsolete that assumption will become.

Like you said the rest of warfare has to be expanded. So I suppose the easiest way to improve things would be to change levies rather than remove them. Make them like the varied troops types we raised from CK2 holdings, equal to MaAs. That should turn the latter into a specialization for culture and terrain, rather than the basis of your medieval standing army.
 
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It's very annoying that allies can only follow you around and are incapable of sieging anything by themselves. The war AI is perfectly adequate in EU4, I don't get why it's so bad in CK3.
 
It's very annoying that allies can only follow you around and are incapable of sieging anything by themselves. The war AI is perfectly adequate in EU4, I don't get why it's so bad in CK3.
The simple feature of being able to direct your allies to either merge their armies with yours, siege castles or chase down enemies which was once present in ck2 is so incredibly missed.
 
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... aaaand there's the additional fun lil cherry on top that warfare mechanics essentially have to be free. There's no way to even consider a two-track system with them that wouldn't be pure hell for everyone involved, dev & players alike. Free is good, we like making free stuff (I mean... I like making free stuff, I assume other people do too), but paid stuff pays the actual bills so if we're making a DLC, it needs to have paid content to get approved, and that paid content needs to be worthwhile for the people who buy the DLC that subsidises the free patch that goes with it.

I believe I have heard you talked about the same thing in another thread. This concern is totally understandable. Here I would like to try to give you some idea of balacing the free content and pay content of a potenial military rework.

How about:
1. Free military system rework, accompany with a paid event pack DLC which adds various warfare related event. Or
2. Free military system rework, accompany with a paid cosmetic pack DLC which adds unit models, character clothes 3D models, weapon artifact/prop 3D models. Or
3. Free military system rework, accompany with a bigger paid DLC which combining 1 & 2 above.
 
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One way to improve levies is to separate them into generic levy skirmishers, archers, pikemen, heavy infantry, light cavalry and heavy cavalry which can be generated by military buildings. Cultural levy units can also be generated via military buildings and the local culture in the province. Men at Arms should cost levy manpower to recruit in addition to gold (realms with professional armies should have fewer levies to balance the fact that they have more higher quality units). Cultures with either equal or female only martial traditions should also have -25% levy reinforcement rate (young women of childbearing age killed in battle don’t produce children).
 
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So, generally, there are three solutions for the levy problem:
- making levy a resource, and MaA must consume them
- giving levy various modifiers
- making multiple types of levy

I like the third solution more, because it more represent the medieval levy system. Having nomad vassals, for example, should gives you horse archers, etc...
 
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A free warfare update with events surrounding armies, sieges and crusades would be great. Maybe even add a few armors, horses and weapons and I'm sure a lot of people would drop $10 on that easily maybe even $20.
 
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1. Free military system rework, accompany with a paid event pack DLC which adds various warfare related event. Or
So there are basically two totally different warfare ballances, the one with events and the one without?

2. Free military system rework, accompany with a paid cosmetic pack DLC which adds unit models, character clothes 3D models, weapon artifact/prop 3D models. Or
So there is literally paid DLC that brings nothing but cosmetic staff?

- making levy a resource, and MaA must consume them
Honestly I don't know what people see in this solution. Core fantasy of feudal army is that soldiers - the mass of them - do not belong to king, but to his vassals, or in best case to their towns or provinces. Things like retinues or mercenaries crosscut this army model and that's why they are game changers.
But ok. Lets say we copy vanilla-Imperator army model to CK3. You know, that army model that was replaced with more CK2-ish model after massive backslash Imperator got. What if some vassal rebel? Will part of your MaAs dissolve? Will they support rebelling vassal? What kind of feeling will that create in player? What will be optimal strategy?
 
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What if some vassal rebel? Will part of your MaAs dissolve? Will they support rebelling vassal? What kind of feeling will that create in player? What will be optimal strategy?
I don't know all the solutions here, but I do know that having MaAs be (a) massively powerful compared to levies while at the same time being (b) 100% reliable in loyalty and inheritance has negative effects on balance and trivializes several other game systems.
 
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