View Full Version : Combat - enough or not ?

01-22-2014, 12:45 PM
after listening to and reading some people complain ( even professional reviewers ) about how the battles are boring and superfluous and reiterative; while others go on how it does not have many of them and is not too "gamey"; i wonder which is the general feeling.

so after you played The Banner Saga, did it feel like .. there was too much combat, you could do with less ? it had the right amount of combat, it was what the game needed. or there was not enough combat, and you crave for more battles.

Slimsy Platypus
01-22-2014, 01:13 PM
I'm obviously a bit biased, because I've been obsessed ever since the Factions beta. But personally the combat was my favorite part of the game. I thought the number of battles feels like the right amount other than Rook's trek in the second half of the game.

01-22-2014, 01:15 PM
Interesting poll, bal. I went for "not enough"; I simply love TBS combat system, and I think more battles would also help earn Renown to promote your units and get some of those nice items ;)

What I'd also change about the battles is introduce more small & "scripted" fights, like the ones in Chapter 1. You know, when you don't get to deploy or select your units, but some of your heroes are faced with an unexpected situation and their starting positions are preset. These battles are gonna feel like "mini-puzzles", where there's just a few moves to make, but you'll need to execute them right to win. The farther down the story (and the higher the difficulty), the harder those puzzles would get...

01-22-2014, 01:15 PM
I think the amount is about right. I never felt bored by lack of action, but neither did I feel the need for having any more battles than we can currently have.

However, it would have been interesting to see some more complex choices and opportunities in the War events. It doesn't have to be Total War: The Banner Saga, but something deeper would be nice.

EDIT: I couldn't care less about Factions. The story and single player experience are much more important to me.

01-22-2014, 01:36 PM
I think it was ok, since as in proper RPG you often get choice to avoid combat. The only problem is, that if you want to improve your Renown situation you are forced to engage in every combat possible.

01-22-2014, 03:09 PM
The toughest thing about the game, to me, is that when you don't have renown, you can't get it. Maybe on repeat plays I'll know the outcomes better and can make choices, but without foresight, times got real lean, and I felt helpless as my caravan starved. I made the mistake of spending early renown on upgrades and items when I should have been hoarding it for supplies. I also made the mistake of not fighting the bonus battles when my team was weak...I was worried about the next big thing, when in reality, the opportunity for renown was more important.

So, for me, it's all about intent. I didn't have too much trouble with the battles on Normal, so I would have gladly fought a bunch more and thus been fat with renown. But if the point of the middle game is to feel lean and desperate, with your choices being a rock and a hard place, then it worked out about right. I'm curious for a second play-though if going battle-heavy and resting often ends up being better for the caravan.

Zekram Bogg
01-22-2014, 03:24 PM
I addressed this in my own thread, but I think the reason the reviewers felt there were too many battles has to do with pacing.

That, and I think the caravan sections of hte game don't offer enough gameplay variation to break up the flow of the battles. If there were more to actively do in the caravan sections, then the battles would provide a "break" from the management, sort of like XCOM. As it is, the lack of actual management means it's just battle after battle with a fancy cinematic and some story in between them.

The battles are good, but if that's all there is, ir feels one note, and that one note-ness makes it feel like there are too many of them.

01-22-2014, 03:52 PM
I think there were enough battles. I already did enough fighting that I was starting to notice repeats in enemy and map configurations. Any less and I think I probably would have been bored with lack of actual action-gameplay. Any more and I think I would have been fatigued by samey-feeling fights.

That said, I never had enough renown. Even though I got into every fight I could and never lost (on normal difficulty), I still never had enough for both upgrades and food. Just forget about shopping for artifacts.

01-22-2014, 04:03 PM
The first patch is out, it should increase the amount of renown available. I'm going to start a new game and see how this impacts the battles.

01-22-2014, 05:14 PM
I would say not enough battles, but specifically in Rook's sections of the game. There are some very long stretches where there is nothing to fight.

01-22-2014, 06:50 PM
I think we had the right amount of battles. And yes possibly improving the travel mechanics would have improved the flow so that people are kept doing something during travel (the downside of that is there's even less time to just marvel at the travelling).

I think people would have enjoyed battles more if a new mechanic got introduced for chapters 6 and 7. Maybe more common new enemy/enemies besides the stonesinger, or the same enemies but with a twist, or some new map rules or something. People would have felt it wasn't repetitive in that case, though Stoic already knew the limited enemy types would end up being a thing of contention

01-22-2014, 07:06 PM
Hmm... Thinking about of possible travel mechanics, what about a rhythm mini game of some kind? Maybe something along the lines of Patapon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp173Si-XZM), made suitably Norse.

While traveling you need to keep the marching drums/song/whatever going. Do well and the caravan moves faster and loses morale slower, do bad and the caravan moves slower and loses morale faster. This might be hard to integrate with the whole camp anywhere thing though. There's probably better ideas as well, but this was the first thing that came to kind. Thoughts?

Thinking about this some more, one thing I think would be cool is seeing the wars take place on the travel screen. Just brainstorming a bit.

01-23-2014, 01:36 AM
I'm surprised to be the first to say "I don't care about that." I care about the variety of battles (which was better than I had expected, on account of the varying starting positions), maybe, but not the number. As the guy whose name starts with Z says, complaints come from poor pacing of the game, lack of variety (if you were expecting different layouts, set pieces, etc.), and the lack of any real gameplay *besides* the battles.

01-23-2014, 03:38 AM
I came to pillage and found myself wanting more pillaging. The most badass part of the entire game for me was Hakon's caravan fighting all those Dredge. The rest of the game felt rather lacking compared to the awesome feeling of that.

01-23-2014, 04:58 AM
Combat is about right. However, one thing I think is needed is a 'flee' option, i.e. If I move a character to the edge of the map and and enemy isn't within a few spaces, I should have an option to make that character leave the field.

This would speed up battles and also be a tactic for avoiding injuries.

01-23-2014, 07:12 AM
NOt enouf bloOd! Rawrrrr, needs more BlOods! Blood for the blood god! Skulls for the skull throne!

01-23-2014, 07:31 AM
NOt enouf bloOd! Rawrrrr, needs more BlOods! Blood for the blood god! Skulls for the skull throne!

Hehehe. This. :P

On a more serious note: I think the problem w/ having more battles is the "balance" in terms of earning Renown. I'd have loved more fights, but also more "control" over how the traveling works, overall (which, w/ the current setup probably doesn't make much sense, since it's pretty much linear, as dictated not just by the mechanics of the travel, but also the aesthetic choice for how that worked).

Still, more fights, would've been nice, but if Stoic's going to work on anything more, I'd sooner they improve narrative elements (cutscenes, longer/better transitions and falling action/denouement, voice-acting if they eventually can afford it, etc.). Still hoping that Banner Saga's first chapter does well enough to warrant an "enhanced edition" :P

01-25-2014, 08:52 AM
i think Stoic could do with better battle design. hey i am available ! :p

you need to develop a little logic for them while keeping a sense of progression. every new enemy unit gets its proper set of battles where it can shine and also show itself to the player. not only dredge, but human too; fighting them teaches the player what its own units can do ( i'm sure lots of players don't even know what half of their roster abilities are ). there are plenty of units to make so many battles just focusing on their own traits each time. and of course all peppered with a few of the throw-everything-inside kind too ( those could be the war-related battles ). even something as simple as the starting positions, making shapes with the units : the visual perception can spice up the players feelings of something "new".

but finally i love the game of this game, thats half of why i backed it and i could have a hundred more battles and not get bored.

01-26-2014, 06:54 PM
i'm sure lots of players don't even know what half of their roster abilities are

I'll admit, I was pretty far into the game before I thought to myself, "What's the Spearman's passive? I should check that...oh, THAT'S why I've been 'randomly' gaining willpower..."

01-31-2014, 03:13 PM
I don't think adding more battles would add to the experience. What is needed is variety. And by that, I mean, the maps need obstacles. Problems to work around or exploit. Archers/slingers gaining range bonuses for height advantages. Enemies aren't all visible behind the large bolder. Narrow passages blocked by stoneguards with slingers backing him. Harmful terrain. Traps or trap-building Slag units. Multi-factional battles.

01-31-2014, 04:37 PM
What is needed is variety. And by that, I mean, the maps need obstacles. Problems to work around or exploit. Archers/slingers gaining range bonuses for height advantages. Enemies aren't all visible behind the large bolder. Narrow passages blocked by stoneguards with slingers backing him. Harmful terrain. Traps or trap-building Slag units. Multi-factional battles.

I think that the main reason they didn't use obstacles etc is because this makes it quite harder to "balance" the difficulty of the fights (for the the three settings -- Easy/Normal/Hard). Additionally, AI already has some issue with positioning; obstacles could make that a nightmare for them. Also, I think would lead to really specific battle-situations where, for example, bringing a Varl or a specific archer would be indispensable to succeed. And then, you'd need "custom" AI for each map-type, in order for it to be equally challenging... Machine learning is no so easily adaptable as is the human mind!

01-31-2014, 04:54 PM
Regardless, this is a thread about combat. And what impression it gives us over all. Denoting ideas simply because of its difficulty to achieve does not remove it from the minds of players that hope to see it. I place them here because I don't think adding more battles would enhanced it more than what it already does. That being said, I'm not looking to see everything implemented. Only that combat definitely needs some variety to it outside of numbers and unit placement. Ultimately, losing the fight in many scenarios does not equate to complete and total loss, unlike many games.

The only map that posses in form of obstacles is when you find Juno and Eyvind at Ridgehorn with the hole in the center. Though, seemingly, unimportant it does provide slingers/archer a buffer zone to harm opponents from across the hole.