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View Full Version : Shogun 2: Total War, who's playing?


Walmarticus
03-15-2011, 01:50 PM
I didn't see a thread now that this game has come out. I figured I'd be the first to make it because I'm competitive like that. It's been like ten hours already. Who's playing?

I'm still waiting, because my shithole town doesn't have a Gamestop. This will be my first TW game and I'm a little worried. I hear the AI is kicking ass, and my ass is especially tender and virginal.

Kinthalis
03-15-2011, 02:00 PM
I'm waiting for this crummy work day to finish so I can start my first campaign game.


Heard good things about the multi-player this time around, so I'll probably give that a try later tonight as well.

And yeah, most reviews/reports from the trenches are that the AI IS improved. About the only complain I hear is that the DX11 renderer wasn't ready for prime time so we're stuck with DX 9 and no AA until the 1st patch.

Darkhold
03-15-2011, 02:41 PM
My copy should come in the mail tomorrow. It was cheaper on Amazon.uk and it's steamworks anyway so best of both worlds.

I dunno though. I didn't really get into the last two games as much as I had in the past and I'm pretty burned out just having played through DA2. I was almost going to give this one a pass but the trailers really sold me on the style they were going for.

Here's hoping it recaptures the magic of moving my little pieces across a board. I still remember the little clicking sound they used to make in the first game.

Kinthalis
03-15-2011, 08:23 PM
Cool you can play the clan warfare mode with groups. I'm joining the SDMB Clan!

Max the Immortal
03-15-2011, 10:06 PM
I'm downloading from Steam right now. I didn't pre-order and pre-load because they had the worst pre-order incentive ever; so bad that I actually avoided pre-ordering to not get it. I have tomorrow off, so I'll be able to put it through its paces. Based on the demo, I have high hopes for the game, but I'm going to make two predictions:
-The game will be buggy for a month or two. We all know that's just how games are these days.
-People will complain anyway.

Terminus Est
03-16-2011, 12:34 AM
I'm downloading from Steam right now. I didn't pre-order and pre-load because they had the worst pre-order incentive ever; so bad that I actually avoided pre-ordering to not get it.
Are you referring to the Team Fortress 2 equipment? I agree that it was pretty lame, but since I actually play TF2, that's what tipped the balance for me to pre-order.

The game itself is an evolution of Empire/Napoleon, with all the little niggling bits seemingly fixed. The interface is very clean, very sparse, although they haven't fixed the tiny fonts. The family tree from Rome and Medieval is back. You can now actually guide the leveling of your agents. For example, you can assign points to "Strategy" or "Warrior" for each general, with different bonuses depending on what you choose. You also have the choice of buying different retainers, like the boyhood friend who watches your back (-10% assassination) or a doctor to take care of you (-2% death from natural causes). Each agent (general, ninja, monk, geisha, etc.) has a different leveling tree.

I've started a single-player campaign as the Chosokabe clan and am well on my way to conquering the entire island of Shikoku. How does clan warfare work? I think I'd be open to joining an SDMB clan.

Max the Immortal
03-16-2011, 10:19 AM
Are you referring to the Team Fortress 2 equipment? I agree that it was pretty lame, but since I actually play TF2, that's what tipped the balance for me to pre-order.

Since I don't play TF2, the bonus is worth less than nothing to me. I don't want it cluttering up any menus. Is it really too much to ask that a pre-order bonus be related to that game and not a game I don't even own?

Walmarticus
03-16-2011, 11:29 AM
I just got my ass stomped in the tutorial :smack:

Gukumatz
03-16-2011, 01:38 PM
You know, it's funny - I've played Napoleon steadily since it was released, but in the last two days I've had more old-timey fun with Shogun than all my time playing Napoleon put together.

It's not without bugs and balance issues, but it's still probably the best vanilla game Creative Assembly has ever released. Some things are bound to be fixed - archers are way overpowered, for instance, and the enemy leaves his towns emptied way too often - but overall, I'm very, very happy. And the movies and speeches are back! Yay!

Considering the great things the modders have accomplished with even Napoleon's hidebound development utilities, I fully anticipate great things even in Shogun 2's future. I'm also happy to see that CA have relaxed a bit with the DLC and rather put things into the vanilla game.

Max the Immortal
03-16-2011, 04:08 PM
Five hours played, and the game runs much better than I expected from a new release. I'm playing as Chosokabe (the same clan from the tutorial), so the scenery is a bit familiar. I've conquered all of Shikoku (and Awaji) and snagged most of the trading posts (there's one way up north that's easy to miss on the radar map). The battle for the fourth city on Shikoku was a fierce one, and my clan leader died in the process. His widow is regent until Junior comes of age. I've built a Nanban trading port near Iyo to see what options that opens up, even though I don't plan to use firearms that much. I've noticed that bow samurai (at least the Chosokabe variety) aren't terrible in melee; like Medieval II's Genoese crossbowmen, perhaps? I think I'll turn my attention toward Kyushu next.

RandMcnally
03-16-2011, 05:42 PM
I have no interest whatsoever in Japanese history or culture, would this game still be fun for me?

Kinthalis
03-16-2011, 05:44 PM
Well, I too have little interest in Japanese history ro culture, and I'm loving the game. I think if you are interested in this type of gameplay (or total war games in general) you'll be safe.

I haven't this much fun with a total war game since Rome!

RandMcnally
03-16-2011, 05:48 PM
Well, I too have little interest in Japanese history ro culture, and I'm loving the game. I think if you are interested in this type of gameplay (or total war games in general) you'll be safe.

I haven't this much fun with a total war game since Rome!

Hmm. I hated Empire but loved Rome: Total Realism and MTWII.

Illuminatiprimus
03-16-2011, 06:15 PM
Bought it and downloading it but it's so huge it's taking forever, so I won't get to play until tomorrow night :(

I am a big fan of Japanese history and culture so add this to my love of strategy and I think we're in for a winner. The reviews have been uniformly positive so I'm confident.

Autolycus
03-16-2011, 08:20 PM
Hell, I think I might pick this game up. Are the speeches in Japanese?

Kinthalis
03-16-2011, 09:14 PM
Yep. And all the English dialog is done with a Japanese accent :)

The AI, I've noticed, is much improved. It's more antagonistic, better at handling diplomacy, and on the battle field, it's quick to take the high ground and uses it's units well... most of the time.

It still occasionally does silly things. I was outnumbered considerably (2,500 troops vs 500). The AI should have easily flanked me and routed my troops in seconds. In stead it takes me head on, AND charges it's single calvary unit at my wall of spears.

It took entirely too many casualties on what should have been an easy victory.

Of course the next turn it manages to kick me out of my own fortress with a pretty evenly matched force.

RandMcnally
03-16-2011, 09:24 PM
In the previous games if you shared a border with someone, no matter how much trade you're doing and how good the relationship was, you'll be at war in very short order. Is that still true?

Kobal2
03-16-2011, 10:31 PM
I'm holding off on buying it until a) the first rounds of patches are out and b) I'm done with my urgent work. Else it's going to become a lot more urgent :)

Gukumatz
03-16-2011, 10:47 PM
I just got solidly trounced and humiliated by the AI. Here I was, marching a third of my army including all my archers and a fourth of my infantry, through the forest to come in on the flank.

Suddenly,

NINJAS!

At which I point I went "Huh! Damnit, didn't see them there!"

...

...

:smack:

RandMcnally
03-16-2011, 11:11 PM
NINJAS!

At which I point I went "Huh! Damnit, didn't see them there!"

...

...

:smack:

Well of course you didn't see them. Hell, there's a ninja out there right now trying very hard not to kill you.

XT
03-16-2011, 11:48 PM
I'm playing but I need some serious help. My clan is constantly in a state of starvation and I have no idea why. I've researched every tech related to agriculture, I've built every upgrade to the fields and I'm at negative ten food with every province in a start of low grade rebellion. I have plenty of territories and lots of money coming in, trade agreements with like six other clans...but my folks are starving. WTF? Is there any way to buy food???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-XT

Interconnected Series of Tubes
03-16-2011, 11:48 PM
Any word on game-breaking bugs?

I just know they have to be here. I've played every Total War game since release, so I know how this goes.

Where are the game-breaking bugs?

Max the Immortal
03-17-2011, 12:06 AM
54 turns in and I've added the island of Kyushu to my holdings. The Shoni clan put up a valiant fight, but ultimately paid the price for attacking me. My new 14-year-old Daimyo had a trial by fire; Now at age 19 he's got four stars. His strike force was very busy but spread thin. The war ended promptly after I landed a second fresh strike force on the other side of the island.

The most fun battle of that war was when I had 19-unit army defend a tiny fort (with ninja-sabotaged gates) from a horde of attackers. My 6 archer units were able line about 80% of the ramparts, but the enemy attacked from four different directions. My infantry and cavalry were just a huge overlapping mass in the middle ready to step in when attackers reached the ramparts. All of my archers ran out of arrows, so I actually had to send out a small cavalry sortie to take out that last enemy archer unit.

The campaign AI still has a fair bit of the Empire/Napoleon silliness. The Shoni navy definitely outclassed mine. They managed to keep my main port blockaded for over a year (totally crippling my economy), but they didn't attack any of my undefended trading posts in their back yard. They also had that tendency to send their forces around the countryside in groups of one to three.

I noticed that up north, Fukushima has been a major battleground. It changed hands four times in maybe two years. Eventually a new rebel clan arose to take control of it. I couldn't help but think, "Man, Fukushima just can't catch a break." :(

Max the Immortal
03-17-2011, 12:12 AM
I'm playing but I need some serious help. My clan is constantly in a state of starvation and I have no idea why. I've researched every tech related to agriculture, I've built every upgrade to the fields and I'm at negative ten food with every province in a start of low grade rebellion. I have plenty of territories and lots of money coming in, trade agreements with like six other clans...but my folks are starving. WTF? Is there any way to buy food???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-XT

The only solution I can think of is "don't build too many buildings that consume food". I get the impression that we're not supposed to have a maxed-out castle and market in each town.

As for game-breaking bugs, there was this (http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/03/16/total-fail-shogun-2-patch-locks-out-players/) earlier today, but it's fixed now.

ETA: Oh, and armies and navies move choppily when they have agents in them, but it doesn't seem to lead to any instability.

Walmarticus
03-17-2011, 01:51 AM
I'm playing but I need some serious help. My clan is constantly in a state of starvation and I have no idea why. I've researched every tech related to agriculture, I've built every upgrade to the fields and I'm at negative ten food with every province in a start of low grade rebellion. I have plenty of territories and lots of money coming in, trade agreements with like six other clans...but my folks are starving. WTF? Is there any way to buy food???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-XT

Exact same happened to me, and it kinda made me pissed. I think it was because I was castling up almost immediately. Now I wait till I have one or two provinces down and it works.

Kobal2
03-17-2011, 06:03 AM
Exact same happened to me, and it kinda made me pissed. I think it was because I was castling up almost immediately. Now I wait till I have one or two provinces down and it works.

Do the castles drain food away from the peasants to create siege stockpiles ? That would be neat, but other than that I fail to see how castles could lead to mass starvation.

XT
03-17-2011, 10:12 AM
Exact same happened to me, and it kinda made me pissed. I think it was because I was castling up almost immediately. Now I wait till I have one or two provinces down and it works.

The only solution I can think of is "don't build too many buildings that consume food". I get the impression that we're not supposed to have a maxed-out castle and market in each town.

I didn't even notice that buildings used food. I've maxed out all my castles and built every building I can build in each. :smack: The problems really started when I went to war and started expanding. When I captured 6 territories my food went negative, but I researched all of the agriculture technologies and I was able to get it back to 2. But as I added new territories after that it steadily went down (it's at negative 15 right now) and I have no idea how to fix it. I've had to station large garrisons because of the constant rebellions in the back field. But it's not a money thing, as I'm running at 4-5k per turn right now and have tons of money...it's just the constant attacks that are getting me down (you can't auto most of the sieges unless you have an overwhelming number of troops...but if you fight it out it seems to me that defending is even easier in this game than it was in other TW games).

I think that if it's the buildings doing this I'm going to have to restart, unless you can destroy buildings or castles. :(

-XT

Mr. Kobayashi
03-17-2011, 02:08 PM
I've installed it but haven't had a real chance to play it yet. What's the best clan to start with? The Chosuwhatevers from the tutorial? Having no understanding of Japanese history is holding me back a bit, the only clans I'd heard of were the Tokugawa and Oda clans.

XT
03-17-2011, 03:17 PM
I don't know the clan names, but I think starting on one of the southern smaller islands is the best way to start off. I was able to expand from there with no problems. From the original game starting on the main island can be a bitch as everyone almost immediately attacks you (it might not be like that now) so you have to build up defenses and find choke points really fast.

-XT

Max the Immortal
03-17-2011, 09:28 PM
The screen where you choose your faction will tell you the relative difficulty of a clan's starting position.

The whole business of buildings consuming food is kind of weird. It occurred to me that it's probably advantageous to concentrate on having a few large castles balanced out by a few backwaters. Better to spend one food to go from a 5% to 10% bushido mastery bonus than to spend the same food on going from 1% to 3% (admittedly this will cost more money). Plus, stables are more useful in towns with a wider variety of dojos. I can't yet declare how useful markets are; the first tier doesn't consume food, so it may be worthwhile to build several first-tier markets to boost your metsuke capacity without consuming food and one upgraded market (ideally in a province with the right bonus) from which to recruit skilled metsuke.

XT
03-17-2011, 10:57 PM
It's the castles and their upgrades that consume the most food it seems. The first upgrade consumes two. The next three. If you upgrade all your castles as I did in the first game then you go negative on food and it's constant rebellions. Also, for some odd reason the rice exchange consumes two food, and some of the tech advances consume food too! So you really have to keep an eye on that. Money doesn't seem to be an issue at all for me but since you can't seem to buy or trade for food it's a resource you have to really watch. Doing a lot better in the second game. Picked the clan on the main island in the far north and it's been cake so far.

-XT

appleciders
03-17-2011, 11:08 PM
Ninja movies? Are they any good?

Mekhazzio
03-17-2011, 11:28 PM
Castles and higher end markets consume food resources, so you won't be able to max out every territory. Playing to the strengths of the regions is fairly important.

My own impressions: the AI has finally been hugely upgraded from the earlier games in the series. I'm playing on Legendary so it's hard to tell how much is good army control and how much is GIANT PEASANT ARMY but it's putting up a decent challenge in the strategic campaign and watching out for its interests. It's harder to con them over with diplomatic carrots that don't actually help them, and they're more aggressive, not just sitting in provinces waiting for you to pick them off one by one. More importantly, the battle AI is far improved. I've seen cavalry dart in through a brief hole in my flank, and you don't see any of the "I'll just stand here under fire" unless you force them to with another threat. Evenly matched forces actually can go either way instead of "I automatically win because I'm a human".
In the previous games if you shared a border with someone, no matter how much trade you're doing and how good the relationship was, you'll be at war in very short order. Is that still true?Not unless you do something stupid. I've had a long-term (65-ish turns) trade partner on my border maintaining peace for a long time. An ally of theirs declared war on me due to my expansion near them, but my trade partner is still happily raking in the money from our 1300/turn partnership. The mouseover showing the modifiers on diplomatic relations suggests that honorable dealings with someone over the long term outweighs just about anything else except possibly religious differences.

RandMcnally
03-17-2011, 11:42 PM
I caved and bought it.

Max the Immortal
03-18-2011, 12:04 AM
It's the castles and their upgrades that consume the most food it seems. The first upgrade consumes two. The next three.

I thought that that's the total food consumption of the castle, not in addition to the previous rank. If I'm right, you should be able to have a lot of big castles if you don't build markets. I'll find out tomorrow. I've been holding back on building both castles and markets, and I just got the mastery for land consolidation. I'm at about +20 food. We'll see how things go tomorrow as I invade the Bessho and continue to build big swanky castles in my current holdings.

Kobal2
03-18-2011, 12:11 AM
Ninja movies? Are they any good?

See for yourself. Success (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1nqc7ZSjOM&feature=related) vs. failure (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMlu7ZleclI).

smiling bandit
03-18-2011, 01:24 PM
I got it, too. Sorry, but playing the Shimazu can be a mutha!

First I got going, made some newb mistakes but still got rolling, when I was attacked by a former friendly who got nervous.

And hit me when my forces were depleted by terrible battles.

With an army at least as big as all my forces.

OK, so I did some decent damage. I still was going to get stomped, because while my troops were reinforcing it was just taking too long, and they had knee-capped by second army.

So I restarted. :D

This time I made them my ally and cooperated via marriage, making them a much more reliable friend. While I'm unsure of how far I can allow them to exapnd, I think I'll be able to move fast enough. I almost feel like I'm playing Europa Universalis, with its complex diplomatic balancing acts.

My current enemy's campaign AI isn't giving me any help, however - they're tricky and keep their armies mobile and large. Sometimes they will send a force too small, and that's when you pounce and then strike back. But they've been surprisingly strong, and unfortunately I simply haven't had time to stand back and build my forces. So far I'm about 20 turns in and have a large army trying to cripple the north end of the island's defences. If this works (and I have their whole army beseiged, I'll be able to roll up their other settlements quickly. Down the line my lord's son will probably turn on his current allies, but that's for another day. Further, they hunted down and killed off three of my four trading ships, though I'm building a fleet to make sure that doesn't happen again. Still have money, though. Markets are very useful, even if you don't build them up further. Roads are no longer the best thing you can build, and there's some real choice about what you want to build.

I will probably go Christian, for the guns. I'm just not happy with the way masses of archers tend to work out. In fact, I've been (ahistorically) positioning archers behind the melee and then rushing them into the thick of it to break the enemy lines once all forces are engaged. The AI tends not to handle this well - it can unit-match, but it doesn't know what to do if you flank that effectively.

I also like that happiness management is easier. In previous games, I often would crank up my taxes and then fill the cities with huge hordes of old units and peasants, partly because a heavily-damaged unit was useless and if retrained lost all its bonuses. Now I want to keep my good units, and if they have to rest for a while it's no problem. - they'll be back in action in a year or so. Once I own all of Shikoko I will probably turn my baleful gaze on the Chokosabe, and then begin rolling up the southern end of Japan (or on the in-game map, the western end of the main island of Honshu)

Walmarticus
03-18-2011, 02:02 PM
Are you guys going pretty heavily down the line with bushido or way of chi, or are you kind of mixing it up?

Mr. Kobayashi
03-18-2011, 02:28 PM
Just had a proper hands on through the tutorial. First impressions are pretty good, it doesn't have the 'unfinished beta' feel of Empire or the 'glorified expansion pack' feel of Napoleon. One thing I hated there, probably due to the time period, is how battles were so damn boring. They all looked the same, line up your things that go boom and wait until the enemy falls over. For one thing, load times are far better - Empire took ages. They've obviously done some work in optimising the engine.

I'm glad gunpowder here is treated more like it was in Medieval II, exotic and rare. Melee clashes look great, the physics really make things entertaining - spear cav charges send men flying, as does artillery impacts. Gives the whole thing weight. Troops also seem less stupid, on both sides; mopping up after a battle is more how is should have been - Empire ruined it. Try and mop up an enemy in Empire and your stupid cav meander around from one fleeing man to another. Here, the Japanese cav goes straight for the bulk, allowing good old Total War style battles of annihilation.

The campaign map looks beautiful, and the fully rotatable thing works well. Unlike the samey battlefields of 18th century Europe (seen one rural field with a fort in the background, seen 'em all) where you fight actually matters. Also love the seasons. I was worried that it'd be a bit small, just the islands of Japan (minus Hokkaido) compared to the whole of Europe and parts of Asia and North Africa? Fortunately my fears were dashed, the map size is suitably epic.

This may have seemed like one big dig against Empire, but I think Empire did one thing better - naval battles. I've only fought a few in Shogun, but they lack...impact. Kind of the inverse of the land situation. Peppering with arrows lacks the same feel as blowing chunks of ships hulls off with cannon fire, splintering the wood and toppling masts. I do like way that land is included, though.

The little details are also great, like the way men lie writhing on the ground after a clash, the glinting katanas and spears and the ambassador's reactions in diplomacy. Siege battles are also a million times better than in Empire. Ninja movies - also great. Not sure about all the agents though, think they should have stuck to the assassin/spy dynamic from the earlier games - how exactly do geishas differ from ninjas? I'm sure this sort of stuff will come to me in time, but for the moment it's a bit confusing.

smiling bandit
03-18-2011, 03:38 PM
Are you guys going pretty heavily down the line with bushido or way of chi, or are you kind of mixing it up?

Not very far into it, but I'm going first into Bushido according to any missions I have (unlocking better units) and then far enough into Chi to manage my economy a bit more effectively. Post Roads and a little discounting and tax bonus can go a long way.

Max the Immortal
03-18-2011, 06:49 PM
Okay, I'm going to have to backtrack a couple of turns in my campaign. I got a little bored of peaceful building and decided to attack another clan. That quickly filled up that fame gauge on the clan screen. Turns out that's kind of a big deal. The current shogun decided I was getting a little too big for my britches, and denounced me. All of the other clans promptly declared war on me. I want to finish exploring the masteries before diving into my first campaign's endgame.

Plus, I have more than enough income to support several more strike forces. I want to see how warrior monk archers compare to samurai archers. A 16.7% longer range probably isn't a huge deal in field battles, but it could be huge for castle assaults.


Are you guys going pretty heavily down the line with bushido or way of chi, or are you kind of mixing it up?

I went bushido far enough to get a bow mastery for a Chosokabe mission first, then went chi mastery for a while. After gaining the ability to build the best farms (and getting monasteries along the way), I switched back to bushido; by then I could afford to build big castles in my territory for a hefty bushido mastery bonus.

XT
03-18-2011, 10:42 PM
Lost my first campaign. I ended up taking Kyoto, but I only had 36 provinces in the end. About the time I had half of the main island everyone decided to declare war on me at the same time. My allies, neutrals, everyone. So, I went from about 7k per turn to negative 2k instantly. Luckily I had over a 100k reserves, but with allies attacking forts I thought were behind the lines, and with the damn AI using deep strike landings in my rear area, it took me too long to re-establish the front and grind forward again. I just ran out of time (you only have until the end of 1600 to capture a list of provinces, including Kyoto which you have to hold for a year and 40 total territories).

It was pretty fun though. I have to say that with a tier two fortress, 4-6 archers, 2-4 spearmen and whatever garrison troops you get I was able to hold just about every defensive attack the computer could throw at me. It just doesn't seem to understand how to spread the defense and simultaneously attack from multiple directions. It does pretty good if you only have the tier 1 fort, but anything higher than that and it can take the outer works, but then sort of flails around getting shot up and eventually destroyed.

-XT

Kobal2
03-19-2011, 02:58 AM
Turns out that's kind of a big deal. The current shogun decided I was getting a little too big for my britches, and denounced me. All of the other clans promptly declared war on me.

That sounds a lot like Papal behaviour. Please, please tell me the Shogun is not as colossally annoying as the fucking Pope. "Cease this pointless war" ? Screw you, they attacked me, I'm just taking my shit back you pompous bastard ! Keep this up and you're not getting your yearly bribe, mister !

Not sure about all the agents though, think they should have stuck to the assassin/spy dynamic from the earlier games - how exactly do geishas differ from ninjas? I'm sure this sort of stuff will come to me in time, but for the moment it's a bit confusing.

You realize geishas were in the original, right ? :p They were ridiculously overpowered too - I once wiped out two powerful clans in a row and in a couple years, just by hunting down the heirline and hanging them all from the rafters with shamisen strings. Good times.

Anyway, I assume they do the same thing now as they did then: assassinations that hardly ever fail, and if they do you just lost a turn rather than your geisha as happens 90% of the time when ninjas bungle up their kill. In the first Shogun they also had much higher success percentages than ninjas of equivalent skill level - an 8 star general wasn't absolutely safe even from a newborn geisha, and since they could only die to another geisha they gained experience like crazy anyway.

Darkhold
03-19-2011, 07:01 AM
I have to admit I was becoming disenchanted with the Total War series. The games were fine but it felt like I'd played them to death before I even picked them up (I have the same problem with the X2: The Threat series of games).

I'm having a blast with Shogun though. I don't know if is the art style or if they've just fixed a lot of the annoying crap they had added in some of the games but I'm enjoying this as much as the original Medieval Total War.

Just completed my Legendary playthrough. That was brutal I think I'm going to bump it down to normal from now on.

Max the Immortal
03-19-2011, 10:41 AM
That sounds a lot like Papal behaviour. Please, please tell me the Shogun is not as colossally annoying as the fucking Pope. "Cease this pointless war" ? Screw you, they attacked me, I'm just taking my shit back you pompous bastard ! Keep this up and you're not getting your yearly bribe, mister !

It's way way less intrusive. You'll get messages as your fame gauge fills up that the Shogun is concerned at the power you're amassing, and when the gauge fills he orders everyone to kill you (by that point you should in fact be a credible threat to him). Before then he pretty much gives you free reign. The only exception was a (random?) event in which the Shogun demanded tribute from each clan. You could choose to pay 2,000 koku or to defy him; I assume the latter choice fills up your gauge.

XT
03-19-2011, 10:51 AM
Yeah...he periodically hits you up for donations though, so it's good to make sure you have some cash on hand. Otherwise, if you diss him enough he turns against you...and I noticed when he finally thought I was threatening enough and went to war with me, even my allies went along. Next game I play I'm definitely going to have more field armies and possibly some cannon fodder garrison armies tagging along, so that when I take a castle I can break off parts of the cannon fodder army to garrison while I move on to the next objective. That's where I bogged down in the end of the last game. I only had 2 field armies because I was only fighting a couple of clans, and I thought my rear was secure so it was very lightly defended. When everyone went to war with me I got hurt pretty badly initially, especially when two different clans landed full stacks on some of my best provinces behind the lines.

-XT

RandMcnally
03-19-2011, 11:54 AM
I started a second game after I did a great job in the first getting my initial army slaughtered to the last man.

I'm loving it so far, although I can't figure out how to get my income up.

XT
03-19-2011, 12:05 PM
Research the stuff in the tech line on the far right...it will also help with your food. Build a harbor immediately and then build a bunch of trade ships. Send one off to each of the trade spots and if no one is there take it. Once you have trade ships there, build more and stack...each additional ship brings in like 50-100 gold. It adds up. (once you have some real money, build some sort of warship and send them to your trade stacks or someone will eventually come along and destroy them). Use diplomacy to trade with other clans, even if you have to pay initially to get it set up. Build everything that increases your income (while watching your food situation...some buildings, especially forts require food).

That's about it. I haven't had much issue with gold (until literally everyone turned on me at once). Food was a bigger problem. Sometimes when I was capturing enemy territories that had larger forts in them (and only the first tier agriculture...the computer so cheats in this game :p) I would drop to 5 or 6 food, which is dangerously low to me (after my first disastrous game where I was always in the negative).

-XT

cckerberos
03-19-2011, 01:22 PM
It's way way less intrusive. You'll get messages as your fame gauge fills up that the Shogun is concerned at the power you're amassing, and when the gauge fills he orders everyone to kill you (by that point you should in fact be a credible threat to him). Before then he pretty much gives you free reign. The only exception was a (random?) event in which the Shogun demanded tribute from each clan. You could choose to pay 2,000 koku or to defy him; I assume the latter choice fills up your gauge.
That sounds a little silly... what year does the game start in? I saw a reference to a 1600 end date above.

Max the Immortal
03-19-2011, 01:54 PM
That sounds a little silly... what year does the game start in? I saw a reference to a 1600 end date above.

It starts around 1550; at four turns per year, the campaign is a similar length to the past few TW titles.

XT
03-19-2011, 01:56 PM
Yeah, thought they give you less warning that the campaign is about to end. I got the only warning that time was running out in 1599 (and sadly I hadn't saved in a lot while, so going back would be a pain at this point).

-XT

Max the Immortal
03-19-2011, 09:40 PM
I just wrapped up my Chosokabe campaign; the map is big enough that the Date campaign I just started may be on mostly new territory :). A few things that would have been handy to know:
-If you're wondering like I did why you can't recruit Great Guard cavalry, it's because you have to be Shogun to do so; it's also a unique unit.
-Most general/agent skills have multiple ranks. I didn't realize this until most of the way through my campaign.
-Use your Daimyo for as much fighting as possible; the more you do, the more honor he'll accumulate, which translates into clan-wide bonuses to public order and loyalty.
-Reconsider hunkering down for a period of peaceful building and research unless you control a province or two with the philosophical tradition specialty.
-I'm not sure, but it looks like Nanban trading ports won't upgrade to Nanban quarters if you aggressively suppress the spread of Christianity.

Kobal2
03-20-2011, 02:43 AM
I caved, played most of yesterday and.. man, it's hard ! I've been playing TW games since day one, and I'm getting my ass handed to me on a regular basis on the strat map. They really managed to capture how the first one played: move units one way, your other neighbour stabs you in the back. Keep home and consolidate, someone overtakes you. Playing any clan besides Shimazu, Date or Chosokabe and you're really just trying to hang in there by the skin of your teeth.

As for battles, I get way more losses than I'm used to... and more than the autoresolve which is a little vexing :). Still getting used to just how fast units zip around, and how fast the kill rates are. My usual wall of archers doesn't work when they only have the time to fire 3 or 4 volleys before they're cut to ribbons in 3 seconds.
I gotta say though, I'm really not a fan of the Warcraft3 style special abilities. Lot more micro than is needed, which is compounded by how fast the action is.

Is there a way to get more scouting going on, barring agents ? I'm really missing my watch tower network. I have no idea how my neighbours are doing, so it's always a surprise when they send a full stack my way. See above re: getting my ass handed to me :)

Gukumatz
03-20-2011, 03:41 AM
Is there a way to get more scouting going on, barring agents ? I'm really missing my watch tower network. I have no idea how my neighbours are doing, so it's always a surprise when they send a full stack my way. See above re: getting my ass handed to me :)

Ninjas are really the answer here. When I hit 5 or 6 territories, I usually have at least 2 Sake Dens pumping out ninjas to be used to scout. I'm experimenting with monks and metsuke, but right now, ninjas are working out the best for me. If you have one to spare, keep it near your enemy's field stack. Being able to at least attempt sabotaging their army has let me ambush more armies than you could shake a dead cat at.

Martini Enfield
03-20-2011, 06:03 AM
Is the arrival of the Europeans a Big Deal the way it was in the original, and (just as importantly) are there gunpowder units in the game?

Walmarticus
03-20-2011, 10:47 AM
I've been alternating my tax levels: high for one turn, normal for the next. Because it takes two turns for a rebel army to form, I can rake in a bit more dough with no insurrection.

Least Original User Name Ever
03-20-2011, 11:28 AM
I've been alternating my tax levels: high for one turn, normal for the next. Because it takes two turns for a rebel army to form, I can rake in a bit more dough with no insurrection.


Man, I remember the Koei games on the Nintendo Enterteinment System, where, you could jack up the taxes, take the hit on the happiness for that turn, then decreases the taxes by one point, garner some happiness, give a couple hundred units of rice, and rake in the cash.

smiling bandit
03-20-2011, 11:33 AM
Is the arrival of the Europeans a Big Deal the way it was in the original, and (just as importantly) are there gunpowder units in the game?

They don't just "show up" as I've seen. You can build Nanban (European trade) ports and get gunpwder from there - but it takes some time and is expensive. Later on, you can develop your own gunpowder infrastructure, which is better but takes a lot of high-level buildings. You can get your units faster from Nanban ports by.

Nanban ports is the way you get to Christianity, I think. It starts getting Christian people and you can then convert. This can be useful, but if you do so make sure you've got a couple archer units in every castle, and try to have a free slot in as many as possible to build up Chapels for conversion. It won't take too long to settle things down ocne you get rolling, and that gives you much faster Chi teching, as well as other bonuses.

XT
03-20-2011, 01:43 PM
Yeah, but if you build your own you can get Samurai Musketmen, which like the Samurai Archers are better able to fight if it comes to melee (they also get a few additional abilities like a rapid fire by ranks option which is nice). They are great defensive units. I wish they had something like the stakes available to certain archer units in TW:M2 though, since they are still really susceptible to cavalry.

-XT

Mr. Kobayashi
03-20-2011, 07:57 PM
Been playing a Date campaign. A little slow moving at the moment, I put down the rebellion then confidentially strode into the neighbouring Mas...something clan territory, swatting aside a few minor armies and hoping to starve the defenders of their castle into submission, Medieval 2 style - only to find that entire garrison of the castle had marched out to meet us! I held on by the skin of my teeth only to find myself in the middle of enemy territory in winter.

An advisor then popped up to inform me that an ominous skull shape over my army was a sign of attrition - I thought I'd caught plague from somewhere. First thought - awesome! Campaign seasons! Second though - shit! I gotta get out of here! Like Napoleon in 1812 I limped out of the snowy lands for resupply, with enemies hot on our trail.

A few things I don't like;
- Chasing enemy armies around the campaign map like Benny Hill. Stand and fight, you cowards! Ties up way too much time chasing the enemy around Date hinterlands.
- Restocking. Should be an option to do it all at once like prior games; it's too slow - especially general's bodyguard units. After taking a beating it breaks flow to have to sit on your arse for a few turns whilst your army has a breather.

Other than that, no complaints. How have you guys been developing generals? I've put points into Strategist and Poet (early tech upgrades seem a good idea). However, my general is my only cav unit so I'm thinking perhaps I should have put more points into the warrior side of things.

Gukumatz
03-20-2011, 10:42 PM
Been playing a Date campaign. A little slow moving at the moment, I put down the rebellion then confidentially strode into the neighbouring Mas...something clan territory, swatting aside a few minor armies and hoping to starve the defenders of their castle into submission, Medieval 2 style - only to find that entire garrison of the castle had marched out to meet us! I held on by the skin of my teeth only to find myself in the middle of enemy territory in winter.

An advisor then popped up to inform me that an ominous skull shape over my army was a sign of attrition - I thought I'd caught plague from somewhere. First thought - awesome! Campaign seasons! Second though - shit! I gotta get out of here! Like Napoleon in 1812 I limped out of the snowy lands for resupply, with enemies hot on our trail.

A few things I don't like;
- Chasing enemy armies around the campaign map like Benny Hill. Stand and fight, you cowards! Ties up way too much time chasing the enemy around Date hinterlands.
- Restocking. Should be an option to do it all at once like prior games; it's too slow - especially general's bodyguard units. After taking a beating it breaks flow to have to sit on your arse for a few turns whilst your army has a breather.

Other than that, no complaints. How have you guys been developing generals? I've put points into Strategist and Poet (early tech upgrades seem a good idea). However, my general is my only cav unit so I'm thinking perhaps I should have put more points into the warrior side of things.

I've done the same as you, except for generals of the family who've just come of age. Then I'll pump some points into survivability in order to retain him as long as possible. (Nothing's worse than losing a four-star general to an ambush while trying to put a field stack together.)

Mekhazzio
03-21-2011, 12:00 AM
- Restocking. Should be an option to do it all at once like prior games; it's too slow - especially general's bodyguard units. After taking a beating it breaks flow to have to sit on your arse for a few turns whilst your army has a breather.

Other than that, no complaints. How have you guys been developing generals? I've put points into Strategist and Poet (early tech upgrades seem a good idea). However, my general is my only cav unit so I'm thinking perhaps I should have put more points into the warrior side of things.
If it takes 3-4 turns to replenish a unit you're better off just disbanding and rebuilding it from scratch. A depleted unit costs as much upkeep as a full strength one, and upkeep is huge, roughly a quarter of the full cost, so it's just bleeding you dry while you're waiting on it. Replenishing also reduces the experience level of the unit, while a fresh one comes out with all the dojo and tech bonuses. Army cost management is a huge part of the game, especially by the end.

Correspondingly, there's a general skill, underneath Poet, that simultaneously increases replenishment rate and reduces upkeep costs, drastically. At least from my late-game Legendary perspective, it seems like by far the strongest of the options.

Mekhazzio
03-21-2011, 12:16 AM
If you have multiple depleted units of the same type, you can drag and drop to merge them together into a single unit, preserving their experience level. Better than just disbanding if you've got the option.

Mekhazzio
03-23-2011, 12:10 AM
Finished my legendary Chosokabe campaign. I have to amend my earlier statement about the tactical AI being competent at siege battles. It does fairly well on the first tier of forts, but once castles expand into multi-level, the AI really begins to fall apart. It's also crippled on siege defense by a complete refusal to ever leave the castle for any reason - even if it's got cavalry units bottled up and the attacking force is nothing but archers. It skews the siege play far in the player's advantage by the late game. If the campaign AI was more willing to starve out castles rather than assaulting with an insufficient force advantage, it'd be a lot more effective, because the tactical AI is surprisingly solid in open field combat.

The Realm Divided event also came as a surprise in its potency. Most strategy games like this tend to wind down in the late game into just being a series of well-controlled mopping up. In this one, once you've gained enough fame to have the country's attention, an event fires off that steadily degrades your relations with everyone. Unless you invest heavily into diplomacy, even your staunchest allies eventually start to see their clan ending as your vassal. I really like the aura of paranoia it creates, as the question becomes when, not if, they'll try to stab you in the back.

Unit balance seems pretty good. With the possible exception of the no-dachi samurai, each infantry unit has a time and place to uniquely excel, cavalry balances extreme power with extreme fragility, and the right ratio of ranged to melee power varies wildly depending on the terrain and unit mixes. Even the peasant fighters, generally useless in the Total War games, can present serious battlefield power in the right situations, and have high strategic utility due to their low cost, ready availability, and the immense upkeep costs on samurai forces. The special agents are all very powerful and are a core part of the campaign play rather than just an irrelevant sidegame as they often are.

So overall, I'd say that while Shogun 2 is, yet again, just another iteration of the same unchanging Total War formula, it's the most polished of the bunch. Unlike the rest of the series, it's also, thankfully, fairly clean of game-stopping bugs on release and the AI doesn't pull nearly as many pants-on-head idiot maneuvers as it used to. It's still only about 3/4ths of a strategic game squashed together with 3/4ths of a tactical game, but they've spruced up the weaker points of each enough that the overall effect is pretty engaging.

XT
03-28-2011, 08:37 PM
I know the thread is practically dead, but has anyone actually managed to win a long campaign on hard or above? I'm on my 4th long campaign game on hard and I still haven't managed to win. The best I've managed to do is to capture the requisite 40 territories by 1605. In every game, just as I'm about to take Kyoto, regardless of my relationships with other clans, basically everyone in the game (including some of my vassals sometimes) declares war on me and with a single seeming purpose sets aside all other conflicts and throws literally hordes of stacks at me. Generally it's all I can do for a couple of years to fend off the attacks as I watch my carefully horded money drop. In the last game I actually had over 250k in money and 8 food surplus and within 10 years I had dropped to less than 50k. By the end (this is the game I just said 'fuck it' and continued to play through until I finally captured everything, even though the game had officially ended) I was back to 3k per turn and had crushed most of the hordes, but I was still having to spend an incredible amount, and couldn't take any territories as vassals, as within a few turns they would inevitably attack me, creating a problem in my rear territories.

So...anyone actually managed to win, and if so how the hell did you do it??

-XT

Mekhazzio
03-28-2011, 09:32 PM
I finished the long campaign on legendary. The time limit wasn't an issue for me, I had 15 years to spare on victory, and most of the real fighting had ended 5 years before that. It sounds like you're playing ultra-conservatively. I can't imagine having 25k in the bank, much less 250k. 250k is enough to recruit three unit-capped all-samurai armies and pay their upkeep for 4 years, and that's a force strong enough to simply sweep through most of Japan as fast as they can march. You could have done an awful lot of damage if you'd turned that money into military, and probably reduced your backstabbing threats in the process.

Or rather, your shameful greed and womanly ways betray you! There is no economic victory in the sengoku jidai! :D

Gukumatz
03-29-2011, 08:17 AM
I just finished a hard Date domination campaign, won it by 1590. (Had control of over 50 regions by 1570, spent some time on the back and forth.)

There are some things to keep in mind:
- The Realm Divided is inevitable and irrevocable. Once it starts, your relationships with other nations will keep degrading over time - even your alliances and vasselages will inevitably founder. Never leave any states open behind your lines; fighting a war on multiple fronts will doom you.

- Keep a screen of ninja in front of your conquest's advance. Keep metsuke with your field stacks to counteract enemy agents and try to use monks to pre-convert (or at least spread dissent) in clans who've adopted Christianity. Essentially, the moment a clan adopts christianity, you need to flood them with monks.

- Control the waves. Having your trade routes blocked will spell economic death, quickly. By the time you're ready to trigger the Realm Divided, having three or four stacks of medium bunes is necessary. Better ships if you can, but don't waste money on the biggest ships if you don't have to. Also, send one or two of your generals to the seas early on, it'll help having a proficient admiral later as the enemy likes ganging up on you with multiple stacks. I've not yet experimented to see if blocking enemy ports actually affects their production capabilities, but I doubt it.

Some Date-specific advice:
- It's easily overlooked, but there's a trade-point in the way north-eastern point of the map. Your first actions should always be to build a harbour and then a trade port in your capitol city and then immediately send trade ships over there. Get a full stack of trade ships over there, you're probably not going to get hold of the western trade points before the endgame.

- As soon as possible, capture the small island to the north-west. It's the starting area of a minor clan (can't recall their name right now) which doesn't have any friends. What it does have is a gold mine and a good position for a nanban trade port. This will help fund your early expansions (first 15 years).

- The northern territories are large and usually has multiple entry points. I recommend building a sake den on your second territory to get ninja right away, as getting good intel of troop dispositions will be necessary to avoid getting sidestepped by the enemy. (In my first campaign, I showed up for a siege with one stack. The Hattori retaliated by sending three full stacks along the opposite coast and razed their way all the way to my capitol.)

smiling bandit
03-29-2011, 08:25 AM
Anyone know what happens if you take Kyoto well before they turn on you?

Mekhazzio
03-29-2011, 09:28 AM
Blockading a port doesn't affect its production. Ships can be made, they just can't leave the port, nor can outside ships enter, without attacking the blockading force. It's basically just like parking right outside the port with your zone of control, except parking lets you take a cut (up to 100% with enough ships) of the trade route instead of shutting it down outright.

The northeastern trade post is, unfortunately, just iron. Date especially has a ready source of iron in a province close to their capital, so it's not nearly as lucrative as the sole sources of silk, cotton and incense in the western trade posts. It's a low-hanging fruit and can pay for itself if you have enough trade partners to export more than your land production puts out, but it's probably not worth a rush to build a trading port while you're still putting out the initial fires. The gold mine is totally worth every bit of effort though :D

I'm currently on a coop campaign with Oda. I appreciate why they've got such a crappy starting position now: the ashigaru bonuses are insane. I'm fielding larger and -more- armies than the legendary AI is, and still maintaining a strong economy, because the troops are dirt cheap, quick to throw together and utterly, completely expendable. The peasant forces are far stronger here than you'd expect from a Total War game. You don't need dojos and the long infrastructure chain involved in them, you don't need the hefty pricetag of samurai, you just throw wave after wave of your own men at the computer until it shuts down. Auto-resolve is awfully generous with enough weight of numbers available.

XT
03-29-2011, 10:19 AM
I must commit seppuku at once for my shame. Yeah...I've always been a turtle type player, very methodical, and I like to have a large cash reserve before I start my end game push. The trouble is that the end game push has always come to me and I'm in no position to do much about it. One of the problems I think I'm seeing is that I usually have 2-3 field armies at most, using the best troops available instead of cannon fodder. Maybe the key is to have a bunch more low or medium quality armies than a couple really good armies.

The other thing I'm finding is that, to me at least the tactical AI is driving me nuts. It seems a lot better than in previous games, and so even though I'm winning a lot of fights (most of them really), I'm getting attrited to death. I've noticed that the enemy AI seems to really like archers too, and that a lot of armies I'm going up against are half archers in some cases. This SHOULD be a cavalry armies dream, but what I see happening is that they wipe out my cavalry charging from the flanks if I send them out in front, and they the damn samurai archers can hold off whatever is left! If I send in the foot first and move my cav to the flanks my foot gets the shit kicked out of them before the horse can drive home. If I set up a defensive line then they either smack my line troops or my own archers. I've never had these kinds of problems in previous TW games.

-XT

Kobal2
03-30-2011, 04:06 AM
Yeah, archers are murderdeath. Even Ashis are pretty darn fearsome and precise. Could stand to be toned down a bit. One possible option is to use archer monks - they're expensive, but they can fire further than regular archers. Outranging them forces them to move towards you, even if they're on the defensive. Helloooo ambushes.

Also, don't forget the Spread Out formation while you're closing in. Makes a huge difference. Fought two battles recently, both were 1 general units of mine vs. 1 unit of ashi archers. First one, charged straight in from out of range, 13 survivors. Second time I spread them out, charged in and toggled close formation right after their second volley. 18 survivors. Just don't forget to toggle it off once your troops are in melee or they'll get butchered.

Other than that, which kind of cav are you using ? Light cav is hopeless. Good for rooting out hiding units, chasing routers, mayyybe flank or backstab a unit that's pinned by infantry. But mostly, don't bother. Sword cav is pretty meh as well - they're a bit worse than regular Katana Samurai, only of course they're faster. There's also fewer of them and they're big targets, so they don't last long.
Yari Cav is where it's at, but they have very little staying power. Charge in, disengage immediately, repeat. Not sure if wedge is good or not, I never really bothered with it in any TW game so far - maybe I'm using it wrong but most of the time it wedges the cav alright... and it's a bitch to get back out.

As for your trouble with the Realm Divide, well, you and me both pal. This game is hell on turtlers - cheats its arse off too. Whenever the AI has armies hidden by the fog of war, it underhandedly spawns free units and/or gives XP to those it has up to a "balanced" point - basically until the fight is even between you and them. Which would be all right if it did that on a Japan-basis rather than a Clan basis. As it stands, not only is financial warfare as well as sabotaging troop buildings useless (the AI will even spawn units it cannot possibly build) but the more map is hidden, the more Clans border you and the longer you wait before launching WW0, the more you're screwed by this "balance".
Apparently there's already mod out there to zap this crummy mechanic, but I haven't tested it out myself - I'm a bit afraid that, once deprived of its cheated units and having to actually build stuff the AI will resort to waves upon waves of ashigaru...

Gukumatz
03-30-2011, 10:34 AM
Yeah, archers are murderdeath. Even Ashis are pretty darn fearsome and precise. Could stand to be toned down a bit. One possible option is to use archer monks - they're expensive, but they can fire further than regular archers. Outranging them forces them to move towards you, even if they're on the defensive. Helloooo ambushes.

Archer monks are expensive, but worth it later in the game to supplement your ashigaru and taking out pesky elite units like no-dachi or naginata samurai. I wish their unit stack was larger though. Samurai bowmen aren't really worth the effort though, in my opinion - you're better off just teching past them and getting monks. I just tested it and two archer ashigaru takes out one archer samurai unit just fine.

XT
03-30-2011, 10:42 AM
I actually haven't gotten any of the monk combat units (just the regular monks you can buy to convert enemy characters). I usually go the gun powder route. I also go with the samurai archers, but maybe that's been a mistake.

-XT

Kobal2
03-30-2011, 01:45 PM
I don't think Samurai Archers are really worth it either. Maybe once you're absolutely swimming in gold and you've got the buildings to make them at the same rate as Ashis and even then, heh. They're not explodingly better at shooting than peasants and while they can certainly fend off spearmen in melee, if you're sending your archers in melee you're probably doing something wrong :). The higher armour helps in missile duels, but then you can also make armoured ashigarus if you've got a blacksmith or two.

The only good use I've found for them is to defend bottleneck castles. There they perform admirably on the walls where they get to both fire at them on the way then melee the survivors, all without risks of facing cavalry.

Mekhazzio
03-30-2011, 02:50 PM
I preferred samurai archers over the monks. Being able to hold their own in melee is pretty handy in the flexibility it gives, as it means your archers are never dead weight, even in the heavy scrums where you can't shoot at anything without hitting your own men, and they can even handle most cavalry if need be. More than a few of my sieges as Chosokabe were won with my archers climbing the walls and carving up the survivors after running out of arrows. Adding another research path and upgraded building into the mix makes the monks significantly harder to produce, too.

Cavalry is definitely very finicky, though. Light cav is useful only on the charge - they will lose against everything except bow ashigaru in extended combat, and have to be continually pulled out to reform and charge again. Very much only a support unit. Yari cavalry is only a little better, unless they're fighting enemy horsemen. Katana cavalry are the only ones that are actually solidly useful as an extended combat unit, and can dismount to simply murder yari ashigaru straight up. I've yet to find a good use of bow cav, they just don't throw enough weight of fire to do much more than annoy.

XT
03-30-2011, 05:07 PM
Bow cav is good if the enemy doesn't have much or any cav of their own. I send them way out in front and on the flanks and they will draw off at least some of the enemy force from the main attack. You can set them to skirmish mode and they will stay out of melee range of anything attacking them.

They suck if the enemy has enough cav to go after them and to still come after your main force, though, so I generally don't use them much.

-XT

Max the Immortal
04-02-2011, 11:06 PM
I tried bow monks for a bit. I found them too fragile for field battles, where their range bonus is easy to charge through. In sieges, they're totally different from bow samurai. For starters, they can whittle down the archers on the ramparts with impunity. I imagine that if you're patient, you could even have them shoot a volley of fire arrows, stop and wait for the cooldown, shoot another volley of fire arrows, rinse and repeat. When I took Kyoto in my first campaign, they could do this across the citadel's moat. They cleared the way for my infantry to ford the moat (the bridges are apparently just decorative), but they were useless after they ran out of ammo. I felt a little undermanned storming the citadel, and kinda wished that I had instead brought bow samurai that can melee a bit.

After two and a half campaigns, I've gotten to the point with this game that I'm ready to tinker around with mods and whatnot. I'm trying out a few minor mods along with some mega-sized unit shenanigans. If you track down your preferences.script file (on my machine it's in C:\Users\My Name\AppData\Roaming\The Creative Assembly\Shogun2\scripts), you can alter your campaign_unit_multiplier without any mod at all (but it might reset if you adjust your graphics settings). A value of 1 is the highest you can set it in-game, meaning 160 men in a katana samurai unit and 200 men in a yari ashigaru unit. I set it to 5; you have to start a new campaign for it to kick in, but a katana samurai unit is 800 men and a yari ashigaru unit is 1000 men. It's ridiculous. The auto-resolve can't really cope with it, but even the early battles I've fought so far have been epic and bloody. I think that even in proportion to unit size, there are more casualties. You can't just crash your line into the enemy line, even if you have superior troops. Units take longer to rout, so flanking and other trickiness is more useful.

Max the Immortal
04-03-2011, 12:07 AM
Upon further testing, I think I set the unit sizes too big. My computer is pretty beefy, but battles with nearly fulls stacks make it run strangely choppy. I can still move the camera around smoothly, but the troops on the field have a framerate of around 1/sec. In my computer's defense, there were about 27,000 men on the battlefield.

XT
04-03-2011, 12:54 AM
Finally won a game on hard. I just have to turn off my tendencies to turtle and build up and just attack. I also used my fleet well, and used extra stacks early in the game to go after ever rebel province that turned up before everyone went nuts and attacked. That let me get some good provinces around Kyoto before the Realm Divided madness hit everyone, and that let me break up Japan into thirds (I had both of the large islands, a foot hold on the North Western part of the main Island, and most of the central regions around Kyoto before everyone turned on me, so I could isolate clans and take them out one at a time, while my defensive fortresses just soaked up attack after attack and whittled down all those stacks the computer gets).

Tried out bow monks and naginita monks, both of which work well in certain circumstances. I really like samurai bowmen for defensive battles, as well as samurai musketmen, and you don't have to shift them from the walls as much. I had a good mix this last time between disposable, cheap troops and high value troops, and it worked well. I enjoyed some of the really key defensive battles, as it's a lot of fun to have to constantly shift your guys around to make sure the right guys are on the battlements and protect the fragile missile troops. I had a few battles were a couple of ashigara archers, some spear-men and the garrison troops took on full stacks of high value enemies and managed to win.

-XT

smiling bandit
04-03-2011, 10:18 AM
I don't think Samurai Archers are really worth it either. Maybe once you're absolutely swimming in gold and you've got the buildings to make them at the same rate as Ashis and even then, heh. They're not explodingly better at shooting than peasants and while they can certainly fend off spearmen in melee, if you're sending your archers in melee you're probably doing something wrong :).

Dead wrong, there. Always send your archers into melee - even ashigaru.

The reason is that it will turn the tide if you time it right. First they weakent he enemy, then you wait until the enemy morale is breaking in melee with your dudes. Then the archers charge in and the foe flees. That's not the only way to use them, but it's effective.

abel29a
04-04-2011, 10:26 AM
Started my second Shimazu campaign a few days ago, partly because I wanted to try out Darth's mod (which is very promising), and partly because I hadn't read anything about the game before plunging into it and therefore was unprepared for the Real Divide event and didn't know about the trade node bug. Therefore, my very spaced out, one-province-here-two-provinces-there empire quickly collapsed when everybody turned on me :) (Seeing as I only managed to sign two or three trade deals I also didn't have the financial reserves to do anything about it.)

My new campaign has been an utter blast! Started of consolidating the southern Island, which took a lot of years. (Playing Darth mod on Hard/Hard is a challenge, for me at least :) ) I've now spent about 6-7 years consolidating my positions, researching and ramping up the economy, all the while playing the diplomatic/clandestine agent game on the main island in order to not let any clan becoming dominant. I've only snagged a couple of well placed rebel provinces on the mainland, as well as gold island to the north. Now, however, one of the clans (can't remember the name), has become a bit to big for my liking, so I've built up three full strength armies, as well as ample reserves, and have sent my ninjas on a campaign of destruction, assassinations and sabotage to weaken my foe both economically as well as in leadership. I've already managed to send two of his provinces into open revolt, and am currently involved in diplomatic actions to pry his allies away from him. Then, I will strike, and with my reputation already nearing the DR event level, I assume I will enter into end-game mode pretty quickly after this.

Oh, have also been working heavily on expanding my naval strengt, including capturing the Black Ship, seeing as I have a lot of coast to defend. Am really looking forward to the upcoming campaign, as I believe it will get intense :) As I've spent most of my time up to now on a strategy of dividing and power balance, I only have one ally - the Chosokabe, so I imagine I will have a lot of clans turning against me fairly soon - although I hope to offset this by creating a few vassals as I go along on my main offensive.

Gukumatz
04-04-2011, 05:59 PM
Started my second Shimazu campaign a few days ago, partly because I wanted to try out Darth's mod (which is very promising), and partly because I hadn't read anything about the game before plunging into it and therefore was unprepared for the Real Divide event and didn't know about the trade node bug. Therefore, my very spaced out, one-province-here-two-provinces-there empire quickly collapsed when everybody turned on me :) (Seeing as I only managed to sign two or three trade deals I also didn't have the financial reserves to do anything about it.)

My new campaign has been an utter blast! Started of consolidating the southern Island, which took a lot of years. (Playing Darth mod on Hard/Hard is a challenge, for me at least :) ) I've now spent about 6-7 years consolidating my positions, researching and ramping up the economy, all the while playing the diplomatic/clandestine agent game on the main island in order to not let any clan becoming dominant. I've only snagged a couple of well placed rebel provinces on the mainland, as well as gold island to the north. Now, however, one of the clans (can't remember the name), has become a bit to big for my liking, so I've built up three full strength armies, as well as ample reserves, and have sent my ninjas on a campaign of destruction, assassinations and sabotage to weaken my foe both economically as well as in leadership. I've already managed to send two of his provinces into open revolt, and am currently involved in diplomatic actions to pry his allies away from him. Then, I will strike, and with my reputation already nearing the DR event level, I assume I will enter into end-game mode pretty quickly after this.

Oh, have also been working heavily on expanding my naval strengt, including capturing the Black Ship, seeing as I have a lot of coast to defend. Am really looking forward to the upcoming campaign, as I believe it will get intense :) As I've spent most of my time up to now on a strategy of dividing and power balance, I only have one ally - the Chosokabe, so I imagine I will have a lot of clans turning against me fairly soon - although I hope to offset this by creating a few vassals as I go along on my main offensive.

Never leave any vassal states within reach of undefended or lightly garrisoned cities after Realm Divide; remember that it's continuously degrading. Betrayal is inevitable.

abel29a
04-05-2011, 02:30 AM
Never leave any vassal states within reach of undefended or lightly garrisoned cities after Realm Divide; remember that it's continuously degrading. Betrayal is inevitable.

Yup, which is why I will only create new vassals after Realm Divide, I've read that vassals created after RD, won't pick up the RD trait.

Besides, running Darth mod, and he has implemented a fix for RD, giving you a massive hit to diplomacy once RD hits, but then gradually lessening the effect - which seems more realistic to me. Hopefully I will have enough clout with my ally and some of my trade partners to survive that first bashing :)

Kobal2
04-05-2011, 02:49 AM
Dead wrong, there. Always send your archers into melee - even ashigaru.

The reason is that it will turn the tide if you time it right. First they weakent he enemy, then you wait until the enemy morale is breaking in melee with your dudes. Then the archers charge in and the foe flees. That's not the only way to use them, but it's effective.

Granted, but as you say even Ashigarus work in that context where what you want is the morale shock and flanking penalties. The higher morale, combat stats and armour of the samurai don't justify the higher price tag and upkeep in this situation where a pack of three legged mules would do the trick.

Mekhazzio
04-05-2011, 10:35 AM
Realm Divide applies to all existing factions when it triggers, but that's it. It doesn't apply to new factions who (re)appear after the event happens, be it through rebels or vassal liberation. They got crushed once already, they just want to keep their heads down while the big boys play :)

It's still not necessarily a good idea to drop client states everywhere. If your vassal gets into a war, you're obligated to join them in it or you take a ding to all your other alliance relations as well as the daimyo's honor, which can kick off a nasty spiral, especially after Realm Divide. It's a real no-win scenario when your new vassals, with their freshly reset faction relation table, manage to annoy a long-established partner.

Also, Realm Divide doesn't necessarily mean everyone turns on you. I maintained two large alliances right up to the long campaign victory on my last one. The RD penalty builds slowly and caps out eventually. At full tilt, it'll roughly neutralize your usual trade agreement + alliance + marriage, which means all you really have to do is cancel out territorial expansion with, well, everything else, which isn't too hard, especially if they're far away.

XT
04-05-2011, 10:41 AM
After winning the long campaign on hard my next goal in the current game is to capture every territory by 1600. Just for the fun of it. Seems do-able, since in my current game I've captured Kyoto and have about half of Japan and it's only 1570. I think playing as the Date is actually easier than starting off on one of the smaller islands.

-XT

smiling bandit
04-05-2011, 10:21 PM
Granted, but as you say even Ashigarus work in that context where what you want is the morale shock and flanking penalties. The higher morale, combat stats and armour of the samurai don't justify the higher price tag and upkeep in this situation where a pack of three legged mules would do the trick.

It depends on what you can afford to lose. Early game, Samurai Archers tend to be pretty expensive. But they can do a lot more damage (they're surprisingly capable in melee). Add in their general improvements over Bow Ashigaru, and I don't consider them worthless at all. One very nice thing about them is that they tend to beat Bow Ashigaru in archery. So if you can afford them, they're great. Then you leave awounded units behind as garrisons while you press onward.

Mekhazzio
04-06-2011, 06:53 AM
Garrisoning samurai isn't really worth it due to the high upkeep relative to the cost of a new unit. For one turn's worth of upkeep on samurai, you can get a brand new yari ashigaru unit, which'll cost you less in the future. If you're not expecting imminent attack or to rejoin your forces you're better off just disbanding entirely. If your general has a replenishment boost or upkeep reduction, then you hurt yourself by pulling samurai out at all.

Max the Immortal
04-06-2011, 05:39 PM
Anyone know what happens if you take Kyoto well before they turn on you?

My current campaign is with a mod that's supposed to disable the realm divide penalties. I'm the Shimazu, and after gaining control of Kyushu I sent a fleet over to around Settsu; I wanted to capture those libraries as early as possible. Since the Ashikaga declared war on me (because of an alliance), I decided to go ahead and capture Kyoto early. A year later, I was named Shogun despite having only 18 provinces. I didn't win, but I got the special units and other Shogun bonuses. The turn after that, everyone promptly declared war on me. My fame gauge isn't quite full yet. I don't have a diplomacy penalty, but that's probably the aforementioned mod. A couple of factions are only unfriendly with me, so I may be able to mend fences before too long.

smiling bandit
04-06-2011, 06:58 PM
One thing which really torques me off is that the reversed the order of units, dammit!

This irritated me with Medieval TW, but it absolutely drives me insane in Shogun. Becaue things worked very differently. Early clan conflict was all-Samurai (with a few amateurs or rogues running around helping). The end of the period was much different, with professional Ashigaru in massed, disciplined formations fighting. Samurai were still the "big iron" of the battlefield, but it's the differences between a plain, sturdy infantry rifle and a high-precision machine gun.

The game should make Ashigaru units something you develop, because you shouldn't start with those solid, several-lines-deep defender units. The early game should be more of a dance of different units. Then they can hand you the sturdier units and let you field much larger armies. I would really like to see increasing Chi and Bushido arts slowly increasing your base unit size.

On garrisoning Samurai Archers: it's not about the money. You leave them behind because they're really badass when defending castles. You can leave any wounded ones behind to control provinces and defend them from any sudden assault.

Max the Immortal
04-06-2011, 07:11 PM
I've noticed that most of the times that I've been defending a fort, it's usually on the turn after I capture it, so no time to repair the gates. Strangely, the AI still tries to scale the walls. The last time I didn't even put archers on the ramparts; I put my katana samurai there with my archers behind them. When the yari ashigaru tried to scale the walls, they got smacked down hard.

Mekhazzio
04-06-2011, 10:46 PM
I almost always ignore open gates when I'm assaulting, unless a large area inside the gate is completely undefended. You need to seriously outclass the enemy in troop quality to be able to push anything through that tiny chokepoint while fighting. Especially if you're reliant on ashigaru, you're better off just trying to get as many people up at once to swarm the enemy from multiple directions, because any single group is going to get cut down about as fast as they can trickle into the fort.

Kobal2
04-06-2011, 11:02 PM
Seconded. Gates are for suckers. Always have been. Maybe a sword hero could punch through, or rather make his stand at the gate and cut down defenders one by one (in effect turning the bottleneck around). Other than that, zerging is the way to go.
Then again, I'm more of the "bring lots of trebuchets and burn the defenders to a crisp from the next hill over" school of sieging. Why get in when you can make them wish to the kami they could get out ?

XT
04-07-2011, 09:36 AM
On garrisoning Samurai Archers: it's not about the money. You leave them behind because they're really badass when defending castles. You can leave any wounded ones behind to control provinces and defend them from any sudden assault.

Agreed. By the time I can get Samurai Archers I'm using at several thousand gold per turn. They are great garrison troops. Put two of the things in a first or second tier castle, with a couple of spear men and a regular archer or two and they can go up against a full stack of enemy troops. I've shredded Samurai armies in such a castle before, baiting them into attacking and holding my field army just out of their visual range, then after the broken remnants move back from their defeat snapping them up with the main army. It works well especially in the mid game, when everyone declares war on you and you are jammed up in the middle of Japan facing several clans with full stacks. If you put too many troops in a castle they either won't attack it or they will siege the town until it surrenders (forcing you to have to fight as the attacker). Put a couple Samurai archers in there, with a couple of throw away troops and you can bait them into attacking and breaking their teeth on the castles walls.

-XT

Crowbar of Irony +3
04-08-2011, 01:17 AM
I am rather late to the party; I have to get a new rig for the game.

Having never played a TW game extensively before, I find myself rather lost after the tutorial. Here are some beginners' questions here, so please bear with me.

1) Is it better to have archers in front or behind your melee troops?

2) In the tutorial, my general has the Wedge ability, but in starting a new campaign, he don't, how do I get it?

3) Are there any ways to transport troops to the mainland bu ships?

4) In the tutorial, before the battle begins, I remember being able to access various formations. Do I have to learn them for the real campaign?

Kobal2
04-08-2011, 03:25 AM
I am rather late to the party; I have to get a new rig for the game.

Having never played a TW game extensively before, I find myself rather lost after the tutorial. Here are some beginners' questions here, so please bear with me.

1) Is it better to have archers in front or behind your melee troops?

In front, set on skirmish. If you set them behind, the AI will just deploy its own archers just beyond your range and pelt your melee troops, and archers are deadly in this game.
Skirmish seems to work just fine in this game, too. There's no nonsense about the whole unit waiting for that one guy to finish his animation before they go away, or using the same skirmish range vs. infantry as vs. cavalry.

2) In the tutorial, my general has the Wedge ability, but in starting a new campaign, he don't, how do I get it?It's one of the Bushido (ie military) techs, just like archer fire arrows or spear squares.

ETA: however I would advise you to ignore Bushido techs early on (or maybe just develop the first one for katana dojos) and focus on the Chi techs first, particularly the farm and market lines. That way you'll build a strong economic foundation for your empire - besides, early on samurai of any kind are going to be out of your league.

3) Are there any ways to transport troops to the mainland bu ships?I'm not sure what you mean but as usual, any fleet (including fleets composed of a single kayak) can transport any number of land units, yes.

4) In the tutorial, before the battle begins, I remember being able to access various formations. Do I have to learn them for the real campaign?Depends what you mean. If you mean stuff like cavalry wedge formations or spearmen spear walls, then some of that has to be researched, yes.

If you mean group formations that pop up on the left side of the screen when you form up a group (like Swooping Crane or Raging Tiger & whatnot) then those are available from the start - they're just automated ways to setup your forces before battle if you're not into deploying them by hand.

Gorsnak
04-08-2011, 08:22 AM
Actually cavalry wedge formation isn't a bushido tech. It's a general skill in the second tier. Which means I don't get it, because I dump all my general skill points into the poet skill.

XT
04-08-2011, 08:55 AM
If you mean group formations that pop up on the left side of the screen when you form up a group (like Swooping Crane or Raging Tiger & whatnot) then those are available from the start - they're just automated ways to setup your forces before battle if you're not into deploying them by hand.

I think that there is a way to hide them, which can lead to confusion. IIRC, there is a small triangle on the mid-left side of the screen (if you aren't seeing all the group formations) that if you click on it unhides the formations.

(I generally only use the formations when I have troops coming in from another stack off screen, as I'm usually fighting for my life somewhere else on the battle field and don't have the time to wait for troops to move so I can reform them)

1) Is it better to have archers in front or behind your melee troops?

As Kobal2 says, definitely in front. What I do is set up my cheap archers way in front (on skirmish), the Samurai archers just past my main line, and if I have monk archers I set those behind the line (since they are very fragile, especially in skirmish). An enemy has to go through several zones of fire that way, and I can concentrate different zones on different parts of the enemy formation. The Samurai archers can fight, as well, especially if the main line is right behind them.

2) In the tutorial, my general has the Wedge ability, but in starting a new campaign, he don't, how do I get it?

As Gorsnak says, I think you get this as your general levels up. There are all sorts of abilities you can give the general...I generally orient to enhancing the capabilities of the army, instead of the general and his personal guard, but then I don't use my generals to fight except to pursue broken formations or if things are really desperate.

As Kobal2 suggests, I'd go with just the basics from the Bushido tech tree (until you've got all the important ones...even then, I'd look to build the stuff that gives you monk warriors and archers as a priority as well) and concentrate on the far right of the Chi tech tree concerning agriculture and money. In the long run that will help much more than having the best troops, especially when you start conquering a lot of provinces. I've had to stop campaigns in the past because I was out of food and didn't have the latest agricultural tech, or because I was out of money since I didn't have all of the merchant techs.

3) Are there any ways to transport troops to the mainland bu ships?

Any fleet can pick up any stack of troops (as well as specialty characters like ninja or monks). You just have to be careful...if you put your guys on a weak ship or fleet and the enemy swoops in and crushes it you lose the troops...which can seriously suck.

You move your stack of troops to a ship the same way you move them into a town...just put the ship or fleet offshore, then click on your stack and click on the fleet. To move off the ship you click on the fleet, then mouse over the land where you want to set them down. When the cursor changes to a troops icon you can offload.

-XT

Gorsnak
04-08-2011, 07:34 PM
You move your stack of troops to a ship the same way you move them into a town...just put the ship or fleet offshore, then click on your stack and click on the fleet. To move off the ship you click on the fleet, then mouse over the land where you want to set them down. When the cursor changes to a troops icon you can offload.

-XT

Just to add, it's best to embark/disembark troops in a harbour town. If you embark/disembark at a random place on the shore it uses whatever movement points your units have remaining. If you use a harbour you can still use any remaining movement points.

Gukumatz
04-08-2011, 07:46 PM
Just to add, it's best to embark/disembark troops in a harbour town. If you embark/disembark at a random place on the shore it uses whatever movement points your units have remaining. If you use a harbour you can still use any remaining movement points.

Didn't know that. Neat. Thanks!

Can you disembark in your enemies' harbours as well?

smiling bandit
04-08-2011, 10:36 PM
In front, set on skirmish. If you set them behind, the AI will just deploy its own archers just beyond your range and pelt your melee troops, and archers are deadly in this game.

I actually prefer to deploy mine behind, but on high ground. That's often covered in trees and offers some protection. Aside from which, my skirmishers are incredibly stupid., and wait until they're already being killed to run. :rolleyes:

Mekhazzio
04-08-2011, 10:56 PM
I haven't had much luck with the skirmish setting either. My last attempt to see if it could be useful ended up with bow cavalry getting caught by a foot charge on flat, open ground. Inexcusable.

Putting ranged units in front also loses some of your best firing time to repositioning, especially if you've got experienced units that can pull off a lot of volleys in a short time span. Like most other things, there's no universally applicable rule of thumb, it all depends on the situation.

Max the Immortal
04-08-2011, 11:25 PM
I don't bother with skirmish mode, either. I still deploy my archers out front, but I just have my infantry charge forward through them when the enemy melee troops are about to close. Seems to work okay, but I won't guarantee that it isn't in fact a dumb move. I don't know if I take any friendly fire doing that (everyone's usually taking enemy fire at that point), but I figure it's better than having my archers stop shooting to fall back. Plus, falling back might put them too far to keep shooting the enemy archers.

Kobal2
04-08-2011, 11:28 PM
I actually prefer to deploy mine behind, but on high ground. That's often covered in trees and offers some protection. Aside from which, my skirmishers are incredibly stupid., and wait until they're already being killed to run. :rolleyes:

Speaking of cover, one thing I *love* to do is deploy spearmen in spearwall formation just inside a forest, with archers right behind them set to fire at will. If the enemy has cavalry, he is almost guaranteed to send them racing towards the bait and *bam*, smack right into the wall. Never fails.

Frylock
04-12-2011, 10:40 AM
How many different kinds of agents (as opponsed to military units) are there in this game?

I lost quite a bit of enthusiasm for TW after playing a lot of M2TW, because I got tired of shuffling spies, diplomats, princesses, merchants and assassins around (did I forget anything?). The merchants were the worst offender--they were useless unless you coordinated them together with a spy and an assassin, and you really had to go check each one individually on the map every turn, which got really tedious.

Is it like this in S2TW?

XT
04-12-2011, 10:50 AM
No, not really. There are 3 agent types that I can think of, and some of them I hardly ever use. There are ninja assassins (which I actually use as scouts), there are monks which I hardly ever use (I generally just buy one if there is a mission that asks you too) which you can use to convert enemy characters or increase the moral of your army or a province, and metsuke, which are like policemen and can be used to capture or kill enemy agents (I actually use these guys the most). I suppose if you want to consider ships to be agents there are trade ships which you can send out to one of the trade hotspots, but I generally don't bother with those either, since inevitably someone will come along and attack them unless you have enough money to build an offensive fleet...and I'd rather spend my money on another field army than a bunch of ships in this game.

You don't really have to move the agents around constantly unless you enjoy sending your ninjas out to assassinate enemy agents or generals, or disrupting enemy army movements, destroying enemy buildings or sneaking into enemy cities to scout. Same with the other guys...I usually have a ninja in each of my army stacks, with a metsuke either in the stack or in the province just behind my army advance (to me they are more effective at taking out enemy agents than the ninja is)...and I don't bother with monks.

-XT

Tamerlane
04-12-2011, 11:17 AM
there are monks which I hardly ever use


Monks have their uses. Converting Christian provinces on Kyushu. "Converting" enemy agents. Boosting province happiness. Lending bonuses to your army on the march.

But my favorite application is inspiring rebellion. The AI will mass the bulk of its troops at a front, tending to leave light garrisons in its rear, making them vulnerable to being incited. This is particularly handy for slowly subverting allies without breaking the alliance and getting that shitty reputation. Incite rebellion > rebel army takes provincial capital in a turn or two if the AI doesn't react quickly enough > move in with your patiently waiting stack and crush "rebellion", adding a new province without breaking alliance.

Using agents against them does annoy allied AIs, but they value alliances + marriages more, so it usually won't irreparably break relations unless something else is bothering them.

Mekhazzio
04-12-2011, 05:09 PM
Agents are hugely powerful in Shogun 2 and each has multiple roles. All of them can be used as advance scouts, as they all move independently and have large vision range, but the ninja get you the most information on enemy army composition.

Ninja can damage buildings, assassinate generals or agents, or prevent an army from moving for one turn by sabotaging its supply line. When attached to a friendly army or settlement, they increase map vision radius and movement speed, and protect against enemy monk actions. Ninja are also the only agent that are hidden from the enemy until detected.

Metsuke can apprehend agents and bribe enemy armies or settlements. When attached to a friendly settlement, they control unhappiness, increase tax income (a LOT), and protect against enemy ninja actions. Attached to an army, they also increase loyalty, protecting against bribery as well as ninja.

Buddhist Monks & Christian Missionaries convert the populace of the province they're in at all times and can take actions to decrease the morale of an enemy army, cause an agent to doubt their path in life, or incite a revolt in a province. Attached to a friendly army, they increase morale and protect against bribery, and to a settlement, they increase happiness if at least half the population is of their religion. Missionaries are a bit more offensively oriented than monks.

Each can be game-changing. Keeping an army from moving, bribing incoming reinforcements, or causing a revolt in undefended territories can have a huge effect. They tend to be economically advantageous, too, since they cost nothing but an initial outlay, compared to the high continuing upkeep costs of military units, allowing you to more efficiently convert money into advantage. Heck, a skilled metsuke can bribe an enemy army for less than it would cost to produce them yourself.

There's a fourth agent, the geisha, who is limited to just assassination, but she's only available at the very end of the ninja tech chain (so usually won't show up at all) and isn't functionally different from ninja in use.

Chimpsmack
04-16-2011, 04:01 PM
I've played a few campaigns on very hard, winning with the Shimazu and Date and abandoning campaigns with Oda and Chosokabe around Realm Divide when it became obvious there was no realistic way the AI clans could prevent a steamrolling victory. I've enjoyed the game so far, but IMO there are some really puzzling design decisions that will probably prevent me from playing it much further.

The campaign AI, for instance, is way too aggressive. They tend to attack at the first oppurtunity with their entire strength, leaving even cities within marching distance of an enemy army completely ungarisoned. Early-game wars tend to turn into a repetitive grind of 'defeat sieging army, counterattack lightly-or-completely undefended enemy city, rinse-and-repeat'. A prime example is the Oda clan, who starts out at war with two clans and a rebel army, all within marching distance of their only city. In the hands of a human player that knows what they are doing, the Oda clan bonus makes them probably the easiest faction in the game. Under AI control they are almost always annihilated on the first turn of the game.

The strength of the ashigaru units are an issue as well. Because of the cost/benefit ratio of all-ashigaru armies, it is never an optimal move to recruit samurai units, and, by extension, never optimal to build anything other than a market and sake den in your castle slots. This makes battles pretty repetitive, as the best mid-to-late game strategy is to simply field multiple stacks of mixed yari and bow ashigaru and outnumber the enemy two or three to one.

And the bushido tech tree and special unit-bonus province building exacerbate the last issue. They give linear bonuses, which benefit ashigaru more than samurai. Which means that samurai, which start the game at a cost/benefit disadvantage to ashigaru, only get worse as time goes on. Add in additional linear, ashigaru-only bonuses from the General's skill tree, and the gamebreaking 'Stand and Fight!' skill, and there is absolutely no reason to recruit a samurai unit, ever (outside of RP).

When it's all said and done, I've had a bit of fun with the game, but unless the mod scene manages to miracle up with something pretty radical I'll probably go back to Medieval II.

Miller
04-16-2011, 04:49 PM
I lost quite a bit of enthusiasm for TW after playing a lot of M2TW, because I got tired of shuffling spies, diplomats, princesses, merchants and assassins around (did I forget anything?).

Yep. Priests.

RandMcnally
04-16-2011, 04:56 PM
Yep. Priests.

I'd rather deal with all of those if I meant I didn't have to worry about a damn inquisitor destroying my family line.

Gukumatz
04-17-2011, 12:14 AM
I've played a few campaigns on very hard, winning with the Shimazu and Date and abandoning campaigns with Oda and Chosokabe around Realm Divide when it became obvious there was no realistic way the AI clans could prevent a steamrolling victory. I've enjoyed the game so far, but IMO there are some really puzzling design decisions that will probably prevent me from playing it much further.

The campaign AI, for instance, is way too aggressive. They tend to attack at the first oppurtunity with their entire strength, leaving even cities within marching distance of an enemy army completely ungarisoned. Early-game wars tend to turn into a repetitive grind of 'defeat sieging army, counterattack lightly-or-completely undefended enemy city, rinse-and-repeat'. A prime example is the Oda clan, who starts out at war with two clans and a rebel army, all within marching distance of their only city. In the hands of a human player that knows what they are doing, the Oda clan bonus makes them probably the easiest faction in the game. Under AI control they are almost always annihilated on the first turn of the game.

The strength of the ashigaru units are an issue as well. Because of the cost/benefit ratio of all-ashigaru armies, it is never an optimal move to recruit samurai units, and, by extension, never optimal to build anything other than a market and sake den in your castle slots. This makes battles pretty repetitive, as the best mid-to-late game strategy is to simply field multiple stacks of mixed yari and bow ashigaru and outnumber the enemy two or three to one.

And the bushido tech tree and special unit-bonus province building exacerbate the last issue. They give linear bonuses, which benefit ashigaru more than samurai. Which means that samurai, which start the game at a cost/benefit disadvantage to ashigaru, only get worse as time goes on. Add in additional linear, ashigaru-only bonuses from the General's skill tree, and the gamebreaking 'Stand and Fight!' skill, and there is absolutely no reason to recruit a samurai unit, ever (outside of RP).

When it's all said and done, I've had a bit of fun with the game, but unless the mod scene manages to miracle up with something pretty radical I'll probably go back to Medieval II.

Take a look at the Darthmod that's come out.

Mekhazzio
04-18-2011, 11:17 PM
The only thing that I think favors huge ashigaru armies is the autoresolve logic. In field combat, samurai are more than effective against ashigaru in their economic ratios, especially since it becomes difficult simply to bring large ashigaru numbers to bear effectively. They get slaughtered by ranged fire, and relying on larger numbers couples poorly with their lower morale, as it means that once you're beginning to get to break even, your ashigaru are already wavering due to casualties, unless there's a lot of morale bonuses backing them up. Siege battles make it even worse - samurai mow through almost limitless numbers of ashigaru when the edge of contact is forced down to a trickle.

But then along comes the autoresolve, and its rather odd views towards numerical superiority above all else. If you have the larger force, autoresolve will not only hand you a win, but in ridiculously optimistic margins. Two ashigaru stacks vs one samurai stack defending a fortress will be a bloodbath and likely defeat for the attackers if you fight it out, but autoresolve will consider it a huge victory with maybe 10% of the attacking force lost. This also results in the computer making some very poor combat choices, like attacking when it should retreat, because it estimates a victory using the same logic...that has little to no alignment with what actually happens if you fight it out on the battlefield.

The worst example was when I was taking Kyoto in my first campaign. The shogun had only one army, about half high-ranking bow samurai, then a couple katana cavalry, and eight katana hero units. Over two or three years, I put three samurai armies at that thing, trying to whittle it down, and they simply chewed me up even in open terrain combat. It was ridiculous, I could barely kill the katana heroes at all while they were cleaving through anything in their path. But then I said to heck with it and moved in a stack and a half of yari ashigaru and, ta-da, autoresolve gave me a "heroic victory" despite it being a siege on the citadel. Comical. They'd have been lucky to even make it up the first wall in tactical mode.

Chimpsmack
04-19-2011, 06:06 PM
Unfortunately autoresolve is far from the only thing to favor ashigaru. A more important factor is the experience system and the tech tree. If you want an explanation, just take a look at what happens when you recruit a katana samurai. Look at the oppurtunity cost. In terms of initial cost + upkeep, the cost is 2 yari ashigaru (+ a 2k koku building and an extra turn recruiting). So you get a 12 attack, 4 defense unit (16 pips) instead of two 4 attack, 2 defense units (12 pips).

Now add a +1 bonus to attack/defense (which you can get from blacksmith/forge type province building, general, exp, tech tree or religious inspiration) and then you have a 13 attack, 5 defense unit (18 pips) instead of two 5 attack, 3 defense units (16 pips). With a single upgrade applied, the gap between samurai and equal cost number of ashigaru closes significantly even tho the samurai got the same bonus as the ashigaru. And that is the problem. Whatever bonus you create for the samurai will be doubly effective if applied to an equivalent cost in ashigaru instead.

Think about all the bonuses in the game. +1 to all stats from general's command stars, experience levels, attack/defence bonus from fully upgraded forges. +3 passive from the Stand and Fight ability. It would be pretty easy to have +7 to stats fairly early in the game, making your katana samurai 19 attack, 11 defense (30 pips) and your two units of ashigaru 11 attack and 10 defense (42 pips). And so at this point recruiting a samurai not only takes twice as long, but results in a loss of 12 stat pips if you consider only attack and defense.

So if you recruit ashigaru and outnumber an enemy samurai army 2 to 1, you just have to know how to use positioning of you relief army to get the benefit of all 40 units. If the enemy army is all samurai, they will do heavy damage to your first army, maybe even destroy it (but you shouldn’t let that happen – once bonuses start stacking I very often will defeat a mostly samurai army with only ashigaru), but if you position the relief army correctly they will then have to fight a second full army with exhaustion penalty and you will destroy them with very few casualties.

Then when you replace the first army (cause any unit that takes more than a couple turns to replenish is more cost effective to disband and replace) you can replace what you lost for half the cost in half the time as it would take your enemy.

If you are a decent player on the RTS phase and follow the ashigaru only strategy, you will have more units, take over more territory, have more money coming in than if you try to build samurai armies, guaranteed.

Mekhazzio
04-20-2011, 12:20 AM
In terms of initial cost + upkeep, the cost is 2 yari ashigaru (+ a 2k koku building and an extra turn recruiting). So you get a 12 attack, 4 defense unit (16 pips) instead of two 4 attack, 2 defense units (12 pips).... That's how you're figuring this, just adding it up and assuming that equal total stats amounts to equal combat capability? How do you reconcile that with the results that one unit of katana samurai will typically defeat three units of yari ashigaru at the same time? The attack and defense stats determine the outcome of the individual 1v1 battles that take place when units fight, and it's not linear. You're not throwing 12 attack at them, you're throwing a lot of guys with 4 attack at them who each lose their duels over and over again before one gets lucky. That's why the very reason why the general and hero units are so potent despite their tiny unit sizes: it's vastly more difficult to actually kill any of them.

For the record, you're also neglecting the armor, charge and morale bonuses that samurai have, and how their force concentration means Inspire is more effective (huge in the early game), in addition to their own special abilities they might have. Rapid Advance, Banzai and (especially) Rapid Volley all swing things even more in their favor at the crucial beginning of battle.

In campaign terms it's in their favor, too. Sure, the flat tech boosts add a rank to everybody, but the building-granted ranks come from castle upgrades for ashigaru and dojo upgrades for samurai. Castles are more expensive, particularly when their food consumption is taken into account. Samurai gain and retain experience better due to higher individual kills and fewer losses taken, and they make better use of generals' attributes (increased move, reduced upkeep, etc) because they condense more capability into fewer stacks.

Also, you do know that the second dojo upgrade drops samurai recruit times to 1 turn, right? You keep mentioning that as a downside, yet money to force conversion rate is strongly in favor of samurai any time beyond the very early game. You can compensate for that by recruiting ashigaru in multiple provinces at once, but that makes them take longer to assemble and also means you're getting less coverage from province specializations.

Don't get me wrong, ashigaru are useful far beyond usual expectations in a Total War game, but it's despite of their combat capability, not because of it. They're effective enough in battle to make their ready availability and low cost useful, especially when the autoresolve-gaming is counted in, but saying they stand up pound for pound to the high quality troops is exaggerating rather much.

sohvan
04-20-2011, 01:31 AM
I did like Shogun 2 the first few times, but it doesn't seem to have the longevity that Medieval 2 and Rome had for me. The factions seem very similar, and there's less unit variety.

I've recently started playing Medieval 2 with the Stainless Steel mod (http://www.twcenter.net/wiki/Stainless_Steel). There's more factions, a bigger map, a lot of new units, more historical events, titles from each province you can grant to generals, and new features too. It really reignited my personal interest in Medieval 2. You need the kingdoms expansion for it, though.

You can turn off the new recruiting system, and stick with the regular Medieval 2 one if you want. The same is true of the new AI, which I've heard can lead to some slowness on older computers. I prefer the late era campaign (1200 onwards) personally, as factions start with a better variety of units already available from the start. The early era campaigns tend to be spear militia, levy archers and light cavalry heavy for a fairly long time.

Miller
04-20-2011, 02:21 AM
I did like Shogun 2 the first few times, but it doesn't seem to have the longevity that Medieval 2 and Rome had for me. The factions seem very similar, and there's less unit variety.

I think the map is an issue here, too. The shape of Japan really limits the number of tactical options you can take. Most campaigns, you pretty much end up starting at one end of the island, and marching straight across to the other side. In the games set in Europe, you have a lot of different options, and starting in France leads to a pretty radically different game than starting in Egypt. In Shogun 2, the only major difference between starting as the Shimazu or the Date is whether you spend most of the game sending your troops to the left, or sending them to the right.

XT
04-20-2011, 12:02 PM
Similar to the limitations that were in the original Shogun. You can use choke points to wall off whole sections of the island, and your strategic options when you are on the offensive are pretty limited, even if you bother building a large fleet to transport your armies behind the lines. In the end, I generally just march, since consolidating my captures takes time in any case, as does refilling the ranks from the losses.

I guess I don't optimize to the nth degree, as I usually build ashigara armies early on, but gradually switch over to all samurai armies in the later part of the game, using the older and (to me) weaker armies as backup and to help consolidate my captured provinces while the main army pushes on. Whenever I put an all ashigara force in the field, my losses always seem much higher (I don't use auto resolve except when I'm taking a town that is lightly defended and not worth bothering with a full on fight for) than when I fight it out using samurai or monk troops.

-XT

Chimpsmack
04-20-2011, 06:08 PM
... That's how you're figuring this, just adding it up and assuming that equal total stats amounts to equal combat capability? How do you reconcile that with the results that one unit of katana samurai will typically defeat three units of yari ashigaru at the same time? The attack and defense stats determine the outcome of the individual 1v1 battles that take place when units fight, and it's not linear. You're not throwing 12 attack at them, you're throwing a lot of guys with 4 attack at them who each lose their duels over and over again before one gets lucky. That's why the very reason why the general and hero units are so potent despite their tiny unit sizes: it's vastly more difficult to actually kill any of them.
How are you finding that one unit of katana samurai defeats three units of yari ashigaru? I ask because this is not my experience even in battles on the very hard and legendary difficulty levels. I will say that katana samurai are the most difficult of the samurai to deal with (which is only natural considering youíve picked an anti-spear unit for the comparison instead of the more natural comparison vs yari samurai or naginatas), but against a human player they have trouble with a 2:1 advantage, let alone 3:1. If one yari unit accepts the charge in spearwall formation and the others flank for the attack from behind bonus, the katana samurai will be defeated very soundly.
For the record, you're also neglecting the armor, charge and morale bonuses that samurai have, and how their force concentration means Inspire is more effective (huge in the early game), in addition to their own special abilities they might have. Rapid Advance, Banzai and (especially) Rapid Volley all swing things even more in their favor at the crucial beginning of battle.
I did neglect all of the other stats, because I was working from memory and not sure what the values were. But armor benefits the ashigaru disproportionately well just as in the other stats. Morale was ignored because itís simply not important. If you play the ashigaru strategy, your ashigaru will have massive morale bonuses from the tech tree, from monk inspiration and the fact that before 5 years have passed you should have multiple 3, 4, maybe even some 5 star generals ability to lead your battles. They all provide extra morale and have the rally ability, stand and fight, and the ashigaru leader bonus if they are that advanced. Charge bonus, yes, itís devastating if it goes off, but you should not let that happen. Move your units, intercept with a neighboring unitÖ since you mention special abilities, make them charge into spearwall formation, which is probably the best special unit ability in the game. Other than stand and fight.
In campaign terms it's in their favor, too. Sure, the flat tech boosts add a rank to everybody, but the building-granted ranks come from castle upgrades for ashigaru and dojo upgrades for samurai. Castles are more expensive, particularly when their food consumption is taken into account. Samurai gain and retain experience better due to higher individual kills and fewer losses taken, and they make better use of generals' attributes (increased move, reduced upkeep, etc) because they condense more capability into fewer stacks.
Experience retention should not be a concern. The way this game is set up, you get your most experienced units by training them new, not by having them survive multiple battles. There is also a point, I think itís around three turns, where if a unit does not replenish itself in that time it is more cost effective to disband it and train a new one, who, due to castle upgrades and tech bonus, will likely be as experienced or more experienced than your actual veteran units.
Also, you do know that the second dojo upgrade drops samurai recruit times to 1 turn, right? You keep mentioning that as a downside, yet money to force conversion rate is strongly in favor of samurai any time beyond the very early game. You can compensate for that by recruiting ashigaru in multiple provinces at once, but that makes them take longer to assemble and also means you're getting less coverage from province specializations.
Iím not at home and donít have the game handy, so help me out with which bushido tech is associated with the second level dojos . Itís bow/spear/sword masteries, right? A tier-5 tech? How long does it take to get there? On top of which you must build the building. By the time you research the tech you can have the game practically won with ashigaru. Part of what makes the strategy overpowered is that itís not just that you can recruit ashigaru in multiple provinces, you can recruit them anywhere, regardless of infrastructure. The more provinces you take, the more ashigaru you recruit, itís a real snowball effect. And you should average a city capture about every other turn. A competent player that knows what they are doing, using only ashigaru, can easily force realm divide within 10 years and win the game in 15.
Don't get me wrong, ashigaru are useful far beyond usual expectations in a Total War game, but it's despite of their combat capability, not because of it. They're effective enough in battle to make their ready availability and low cost useful, especially when the autoresolve-gaming is counted in, but saying they stand up pound for pound to the high quality troops is exaggerating rather much.
Itís not autoresolve that makes ashigaru useful. Autoresolving is a timesaver, nothing more. Itís actually a handicap, since pretty much any human player should outperform autoresolve the majority of the time.

Chimpsmack
04-20-2011, 06:33 PM
I did like Shogun 2 the first few times, but it doesn't seem to have the longevity that Medieval 2 and Rome had for me. The factions seem very similar, and there's less unit variety.

I've recently started playing Medieval 2 with the Stainless Steel mod (http://www.twcenter.net/wiki/Stainless_Steel). There's more factions, a bigger map, a lot of new units, more historical events, titles from each province you can grant to generals, and new features too. It really reignited my personal interest in Medieval 2. You need the kingdoms expansion for it, though.

You can turn off the new recruiting system, and stick with the regular Medieval 2 one if you want. The same is true of the new AI, which I've heard can lead to some slowness on older computers. I prefer the late era campaign (1200 onwards) personally, as factions start with a better variety of units already available from the start. The early era campaigns tend to be spear militia, levy archers and light cavalry heavy for a fairly long time.

I feel much the same way, especially on the variety end. I used to love using Venetia and abandoning Venice and the other European holdings to go on a Crusade to Jerusalem or Antioch. Eventually I would garrison my holdings with the Venetian hammer infantry, and when the Turks or Egyptians would come to get the city back, I'd line the infantry up to defend the breaches they'd make in the wall and yell 'HAMMER TIME!' while they tried to break through

Thinking about it, it feels like Medieval had like 250 different units. Just thinking about some of the games I played, even among the European Catholic factions, they would often rely on completely different types of infantry from one another, and require faction unique strategies to play effectively. The venetians had the hammer infantry, the Danes had the Obudshaer and the rest of the heavy axe infantry, the Scots had Pikes, the English Billhooks, the French Voulges, the Spaniards javelin skirmishers... I'd love to go back and play it again, but for some reason my computer runs the tacticals at about 3x speed, so playing a battle is like trying to give orders to the keystone cops

i agree that stainless steel is a great mod, btw. Broken Crescent is probably the only other mod I used nearly as much.

Mekhazzio
04-20-2011, 08:49 PM
How are you finding that one unit of katana samurai defeats three units of yari ashigaru?I like to fool around in the custom battles and see what happens when X goes against Y, tweaking things around and seeing which variables have which effect. If the ashigaru manage to completely surround the entire katana unit, then it's possible to go either way, but if it's just front and flanks, the katanas win - and win big if they get Inspire. At just 2:1 it's not even close. In a larger scale where it's difficult to fully surround, those odds are nearly hopeless for ashigaru. It's not really that katanas are "anti-spear" either. They simply have higher stats in every category, so much higher that they're just as effective against cavalry as yari ashigaru, despite the huge spear bonus against horses.

Experience retention depends entirely on kill rate vs loss rate. For ashigaru it'll rarely be in their favor, but quality or sheltered troops routinely gain half to a full rank per battle. Cavalry in particular tend to gain ranks very fast thanks to the huge amount of kills they get running down routing units.
Iím not at home and donít have the game handy, so help me out with which bushido tech is associated with the second level dojos . Itís bow/spear/sword masteries, right? A tier-5 techYep, there's 4 pre-reqs, except for the cavalry dojo which is 2. It takes something like 20-35 turns, depending on tech rate bonuses/events, to get one. That's not that far in. The 1 turn recruitment time just grants them the clear superiority - if you figure a samurai unit is worth two of ashigaru, then the standard times break even.

smiling bandit
04-20-2011, 10:56 PM
I like to fool around in the custom battles and see what happens when X goes against Y, tweaking things around and seeing which variables have which effect. If the ashigaru manage to completely surround the entire katana unit, then it's possible to go either way, but if it's just front and flanks, the katanas win - and win big if they get Inspire. At just 2:1 it's not even close.

I can say, however, that this isn't my experience. It's trivially easy to actually defeat the AI, even Katana Samurai, with cheap Yari Ashigaru.

Experience retention depends entirely on kill rate vs loss rate. For ashigaru it'll rarely be in their favor, but quality or sheltered troops routinely gain half to a full rank per battle. Cavalry in particular tend to gain ranks very fast thanks to the huge amount of kills they get running down routing units.

But you won't keep them very long, and it's a lot easier to replace dead Ashigaru than samurai, too. The fact that you can (with a huge investment) build them in one round is irrelevant. You can easily recruit Ashigaru on the fly. In my new game, I'm not going to build any samurai structures - should I feel the need for some we've got captured provinces.

It's telling that even I can find a use for Bow Samurai only as disposable garrison troops.

Yep, there's 4 pre-reqs, except for the cavalry dojo which is 2. It takes something like 20-35 turns, depending on tech rate bonuses/events, to get one. That's not that far in. The 1 turn recruitment time just grants them the clear superiority - if you figure a samurai unit is worth two of ashigaru, then the standard times break even.

Except that ignores the cost factor, too, and that you can only do that in the actual provinces you have those high-tech stuctures. Ashigaru are ultimately disposable.

Tamerlane
04-21-2011, 02:26 PM
, and there is absolutely no reason to recruit a samurai unit, ever (outside of RP).

I...I...don't understand. Doesn't everyone always roleplay when playing strategy games? :D

I'm actually not criticizing ( much ), because everyone enjoys different things in games. But I never have really understood the "such and such is too easy to exploit in the game" argument. Then don't exploit it, sez I.

Ashigaru ( or any other unit ) overpowered? Then limit how many units you use ( unless you are the Oda, who have a legitimate RP reason to use them ).

Cheaper to dismiss and rebuild units? Make it a rule that units may only be merged and then only if they are below 25% of listed strength.

Some units are less useful than they were historically? Tough titty. Use them anyway and build only "balanced" armies ( a rule I adhered to rigidly playing the MTW's or even the EU series - no killer "all cavalry" stacks for me ).

The thing is, is that all strategic AIs are flawed and have vulnerabilities. Some have more than others, it is true. But in the end they all can be manipulated. The answer to that is to handicap yourself and try not to manipulate them. I've never not roleplayed a strategy game. Which doesn't mean I'm a purist, interested in only the most difficult settings. I'll freely cheat to enhance my roleplaying pleasure or even use the easiest settings sometimes ( sometimes I just feel like winning, other times I couldn't care less ).

Shitty unit AI in certain circumstances ( and I'm sure we can all think of instances of that ), the arguments about Japan's geography making choke points particularly easy in both TW games, to some extent the lack of variety in units ( historically more accurate to be sure ) - those arguments do work better for me as negatives. But mechanical exploits that can easily be avoided by...avoiding them? Don't entirely get it :).

XT
04-21-2011, 02:34 PM
And in this particular game they actually have another option (I agree with your views on all of this, btw Tamerlane....it's pretty much exactly the way I play). They can always just do drop in PvP battles for any fight. I've found the player battles to be mixed, but the 'AI' (i.e. the self contained, protoplasm, Doritos eating computational source), while wildly varied, does some pretty unexpected things. And some of those folks out there are real sharks. I've had my ass handed to me several times when I thought I'd easily win.

-XT

Chimpsmack
04-21-2011, 05:47 PM
I like to fool around in the custom battles and see what happens when X goes against Y, tweaking things around and seeing which variables have which effect. If the ashigaru manage to completely surround the entire katana unit, then it's possible to go either way, but if it's just front and flanks, the katanas win - and win big if they get Inspire. At just 2:1 it's not even close. In a larger scale where it's difficult to fully surround, those odds are nearly hopeless for ashigaru. It's not really that katanas are "anti-spear" either. They simply have higher stats in every category, so much higher that they're just as effective against cavalry as yari ashigaru, despite the huge spear bonus against horses.

I was curious last night, so I ran a few custom battles to test this when I got home. I chose clans that don't get bonuses to swords or spears, and added 2 yari ashigaru to one and a katana samurai to the other. Then I removed the generals and had the two sides fight each other. I used one unit of yaris to accept the katana's charge in spearwall formation, and the other to flank them.

With all units having no experience, the katana samurai won after losing about 1/3 of the unit. I then ran the same battle several more times, giving the yaris and the katana samurai 2, 4, 6 and max experience. The yaris won each handily. They also took fewer casualties in the later battles where each unit had more experience.

It's pretty much the set of results I expected, and would seem to support that the idea that veterancy, upgrades, and the fact that you can manuever with 2 large units instead of one medium-sized one result in ashigaru punching way above their weight.

Yep, there's 4 pre-reqs, except for the cavalry dojo which is 2. It takes something like 20-35 turns, depending on tech rate bonuses/events, to get one. That's not that far in. The 1 turn recruitment time just grants them the clear superiority - if you figure a samurai unit is worth two of ashigaru, then the standard times break even.

That's 20-35 at the expense of beelining that tech right? So no farm upgrades, no monk/metsuke/ninja buildings, and you've gotten recruitment time on ONE samurai type down to one turn. But recruiting that samurai still costs more than twice what 2 ashigaru cost. I just dont see how it's worth it.

And I honestly wish it werent the case. In Medieval, I used to really enjoy upgrading my armies from militia to professional soldiers to elite soldiers, so I hope some changes get patched in.

Chimpsmack
04-21-2011, 06:02 PM
I...I...don't understand. Doesn't everyone always roleplay when playing strategy games? :D

I'm actually not criticizing ( much ), because everyone enjoys different things in games. But I never have really understood the "such and such is too easy to exploit in the game" argument. Then don't exploit it, sez I.

Ashigaru ( or any other unit ) overpowered? Then limit how many units you use ( unless you are the Oda, who have a legitimate RP reason to use them ).

Cheaper to dismiss and rebuild units? Make it a rule that units may only be merged and then only if they are below 25% of listed strength.

Some units are less useful than they were historically? Tough titty. Use them anyway and build only "balanced" armies ( a rule I adhered to rigidly playing the MTW's or even the EU series - no killer "all cavalry" stacks for me ).

The thing is, is that all strategic AIs are flawed and have vulnerabilities. Some have more than others, it is true. But in the end they all can be manipulated. The answer to that is to handicap yourself and try not to manipulate them. I've never not roleplayed a strategy game. Which doesn't mean I'm a purist, interested in only the most difficult settings. I'll freely cheat to enhance my roleplaying pleasure or even use the easiest settings sometimes ( sometimes I just feel like winning, other times I couldn't care less ).

Shitty unit AI in certain circumstances ( and I'm sure we can all think of instances of that ), the arguments about Japan's geography making choke points particularly easy in both TW games, to some extent the lack of variety in units ( historically more accurate to be sure ) - those arguments do work better for me as negatives. But mechanical exploits that can easily be avoided by...avoiding them? Don't entirely get it :).

Tamerlane - I know people play like you do, it's just not somethign I can do. For me, a lot of the fun of the game is allocating my resources in the most effective way that I can. If I have to make up rules to force myself to recruit units I see no purpose for, that part of the game is lost.

Honestly, I'm not trying to tell anyone how they should play or insult you if you recruit samurai, or anything like that. I recognize that there are different strategies and that people enjoy different things about games. I'm just saying that, especially for a starter unit, ashigaru are far too cost effective and far too versatile. That isn't a flaw in strategic AI, it's a flaw in game design.

I wish it werent the case, because I loved upgrading from militia to professional soldiers to elite troops in the Medievals. I just can't do it in Shogun because I cant think of a situation where I'd rather have one samurai than two ashigaru.

smiling bandit
04-21-2011, 08:12 PM
Tamerlane - I know people play like you do, it's just not somethign I can do. For me, a lot of the fun of the game is allocating my resources in the most effective way that I can. If I have to make up rules to force myself to recruit units I see no purpose for, that part of the game is lost.

Exactly. I don't mind experimenting, but the AI is fighting to the death against you. And their hardly incompetent. Anyway, I don't feel all that comfy with the idea of throwing myself to the dogs in order to use substandard units. After all, I'm roleplaying as a great, wise warlord.

Mekhazzio
04-22-2011, 06:14 PM
That's 20-35 at the expense of beelining that tech right? So no farm upgrades, no monk/metsuke/ninja buildings, and you've gotten recruitment time on ONE samurai type down to one turn.Sake dens are open at the start of the game, markets are on the very first Chi tech, temples just aren't all that useful, and farm upgrades require a substantial number of provinces held before they become cost-effective in a reasonable time frame. Especially if your focus is on the early game, starting off in Bushido is clearly the way to go, as most of the Chi techs don't become strong until middle to late game, and even then, few come close to having the impact that Heaven & Earth does.

Chimpsmack
04-22-2011, 09:23 PM
How are temples not useful? They produce monks, which can reduce discontent in provinces, buff an entire army, demoralize enemy armies, or incite rebellions. In fact, most of the time, you can use a small team of monks to utterly destroy even the most powerful of clans by inciting rebellions over the course of a few turns. They are the most powerful agent in the game.

Cost effectiveness isnt an issue with farm upgrades. Farm upgrades are for gaining extra food so that you can upgrade castles without causing rebellions. yes, there is some nice stuff in the bushido tree, but nothing really necessary below the 1st spear tech.

Exactly. I don't mind experimenting, but the AI is fighting to the death against you. And their hardly incompetent. Anyway, I don't feel all that comfy with the idea of throwing myself to the dogs in order to use substandard units. After all, I'm roleplaying as a great, wise warlord.

Well put, the campaign Ai can be challenging at times. Especially on higher difficulty levels - it can be very hard to produce at the same level as the AI. When I play on very hard or legendary, in the early game the AI will often produce as many samurai units as I do ashigaru. This is, of course, not ideal, but were I producing samurai units myself, I'd be outnumbered 2:1 at the start of a war, and because of difficulty level bonuses it would get worse as time went on.

Mekhazzio
04-24-2011, 10:06 AM
How are temples not useful? They produce monks, which can reduce discontent in provinces, buff an entire army, demoralize enemy armies, or incite rebellions. In fact, most of the time, you can use a small team of monks to utterly destroy even the most powerful of clans by inciting rebellions over the course of a few turns. They are the most powerful agent in the game.I'd toss my vote for ninja, thanks to their much greater versatility. Sabotaging armies alone can alter the course of wars, and that's just a small part of what they can do. Anyway, I consider temples not very useful because they just don't contribute much. They provide only happiness and a tiny research boost, and the monks largely only affect morale and happiness. Happiness can be produced just as well by metsuke, who also dramatically increase tax income and protect against ninja at the same time, while markets are, of course, clearly worthwhile just on their own benefits.

Sure, rebellion and conversion are very strong effects, especially with how they let you gobble up territories without making any overtly hostile actions to a clan, but they require a different enemy religion and/or a 4-star monk to even remotely become cost or time efficient. Neither scenario is likely in the early game, so temples are a clear choice to delay until they can bring a benefit. Early religious investment only pays off if you're converting to Christianity, because churches and missionaries are significantly stronger than their Shinto counterparts.

Also, farm upgrades to build castle upgrades? Whatever are you building castle upgrades for, if you're ignoring dojo? The only building that pays off its investment in less than an immense time span is the market, and once you have more than a handful of provinces, sake dens don't pay themselves off ever, because the food lost to the castle to hold them in addition to the market would've fueled realm-wide growth instead. It's the same trap the rice exchanges and merchant guilds run into: they're great when used to maximize a province increased by metsuke oversight or with high tax rates, but as your territory grows, they easily wind up costing you more than they provide, without even factoring in their initial cost.

Martini Enfield
04-25-2011, 08:41 AM
I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing the lack of units compared to Empire or Medieval 2... I can see why they've done it and it's not a huge issue, but it does mean the armies don't have the variety they did in earlier games. I rather liked using East India Company Sepoys to wrest control of the New World from Spain, after all. ;)

Having completely researched the Gunpowder arts tree, being able to recruit Matchlock Ashigaru at any stronghold has made defending captured towns extremely easy... I've found that three units of Matchlock Ashigaru, a Bow unit, and a melee unit (when combined with the Retainer units) can defeat armies three times their size with (comparatively) minimal casualties.

I am finding the Agent units to actually be useful, though- even Agents recruited late the in the game still seem to be quite effective, unlike previous games where the objects of your machinations were always too levelled up to be susceptible to anything.

Enilno
04-25-2011, 10:28 AM
Also, farm upgrades to build castle upgrades? Whatever are you building castle upgrades for, if you're ignoring dojo? The only building that pays off its investment in less than an immense time span is the market, and once you have more than a handful of provinces, sake dens don't pay themselves off ever, because the food lost to the castle to hold them in addition to the market would've fueled realm-wide growth instead. It's the same trap the rice exchanges and merchant guilds run into: they're great when used to maximize a province increased by metsuke oversight or with high tax rates, but as your territory grows, they easily wind up costing you more than they provide, without even factoring in their initial cost.

Well, castle upgrades also provide research bonuses and increased recruitment slots and garrison. Having more temples and sake dens increase the number of agents you can recruit. I usually convert to Christianity at the first opportunity for the extra research bonus from churches (and completely overpowered Nanban ships) and they add up.

smiling bandit
04-27-2011, 05:31 PM
Also, farm upgrades to build castle upgrades? Whatever are you building castle upgrades for, if you're ignoring dojo? The only building that pays off its investment in less than an immense time span is the market, and once you have more than a handful of provinces, sake dens don't pay themselves off ever, because the food lost to the castle to hold them in addition to the market would've fueled realm-wide growth instead. It's the same trap the rice exchanges and merchant guilds run into: they're great when used to maximize a province increased by metsuke oversight or with high tax rates, but as your territory grows, they easily wind up costing you more than they provide, without even factoring in their initial cost.

Not true, because it's an investment in a lot of ways. You build farms for money, then upgrade castles to build markets, sake dens, and churches. That snowballs into some huge bonuses and massive income.

To put another way: you invest in farms for the income. You'll wind up with a god bit of extra food, so you may as well build up your castles to take advantage of it. You get better defense, free units in sieges, and the ability to pop in more tasty money buildings. I agree that you won't want to go too far, but having fifty ninja isn't a bad angle. :D

Mekhazzio
04-27-2011, 08:13 PM
To put another way: you invest in farms for the income. You'll wind up with a god bit of extra food,That's the point though, that's not "extra" food, that food is income too. Any food left after consumption goes directly into growth per turn in every province you own. If you have 10 provinces with 1 food surplus, in only 5 turns, that food has given you 150 total wealth. It adds up very fast. Because of this, expanding castles is not investment, it's a resource sink. It's often a worthwhile resource sink, especially given the huge defensive difference between a fort and a fortress, but it takes very specific circumstances for a castle to ever pay off the cost of upgrading it.

XT
04-27-2011, 08:23 PM
Plus, at least in my experience, you NEED that extra food when you start seriously going after enemy territory (unless you are going to make them all vassals). In the early games I didn't bother so much with upgrading farms or researching upgrades to farms, and I'd have to halt my offensives because I ran out of food. The computer seems to build really big castles (which require food) and buildings that require food...and then have the lowest level farms available, so each territory I would capture would be like a food sink.

-XT

Kobal2
04-27-2011, 09:39 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing the lack of units compared to Empire or Medieval 2... I can see why they've done it and it's not a huge issue, but it does mean the armies don't have the variety they did in earlier games. I rather liked using East India Company Sepoys to wrest control of the New World from Spain, after all. ;)

FWIW, old STW grognards did bitch and moan at MTW 1&2 for having entirely too many units (and agents), which in their opinion merely confused and muddled the game without improving the gameplay.
Can't say I really blame them - what do the eleventy million flavours of Turkic horse archers bring to the table, when you get right down to it ? Personally, I always relied on a handful of old reliables anyway. The dearth of unit flavour in STW 1/2 doesn't bother me in the least - each of them has a defined purpose, and all of them combined cover pretty much all battlefield purposes I can think of.
Cosmetic differences would have been nice in and of themselves, but not if developping them means skimping on other aspects of the game. Leave the aesthetic and flavour stuff to modders I say, and concentrate on the AI and engine crunching gears.

XT
04-28-2011, 10:35 AM
Yeah, one of my issues with MTW 2 is the damn agents. To me, they are a total pain in the ass and detract from the game. I do like the fact that each faction gets different units, though...but in general I end up going with only a few units from any given faction to make up the backbone of my army.

-XT

smiling bandit
04-28-2011, 03:20 PM
That's the point though, that's not "extra" food, that food is income too. Any food left after consumption goes directly into growth per turn in every province you own. If you have 10 provinces with 1 food surplus, in only 5 turns, that food has given you 150 total wealth. It adds up very fast. Because of this, expanding castles is not investment, it's a resource sink. It's often a worthwhile resource sink, especially given the huge defensive difference between a fort and a fortress, but it takes very specific circumstances for a castle to ever pay off the cost of upgrading it.

I'll have to check, but I believe the food-based growth tops out somewhere. I tend to focus heavily on food, though. In any cse, I'm only talking about building up castles twice. I'd never go higher, and I'll even wreck up enemy structures to open slots.

Gukumatz
05-11-2011, 11:51 AM
Bumping to mention that the vaunted DirectX 11 patch is now out - with a ton of improvements otherwise, as well. The full changelog is here: http://forums.totalwar.com/showthread.php/17168-Patch-2-OUT-NOW-Full-changelist

Highlights:
- Full DX11 implementation with AA support, MSAA, Enchanced Depth of Field, Tesselation support and advanced shadows.
- 4 brand new maps for the multiplayer component.
- Significant bug-fixes too numerous to list. (No, really. There's about 3 pages of them.)

It's downloading for me as we speak and I'll have a round with it after I get home from work, but it's been out for some days now - anyone have anything to report? :)

Kinthalis
05-11-2011, 03:28 PM
Well DX 11 looks and runs REALLY well.

The depth of field is sweet, the tessellation and texture effects on the terrain are awesome. More subtle, but equally cool are the soft shadows. And the big boy, AA finally being supported turns the game from a jaggy mess to a clean, really amazing looking game.

Best of all it runs really well. Even if you have a low end DX 11 card, it makes sense to turn on Shader 5, just maybe not enable all the features in order to enjoy a boost in performance or AA, or both.

Just started playing a new campaign, so no comments ont he bug fixes/balancing done yet.

Ludovic
05-11-2011, 03:48 PM
FWIW, old STW grognards did bitch and moan at MTW 1&2 for having entirely too many units (and agents), which in their opinion merely confused and muddled the game without improving the gameplay.In general - meh. The worst part of MTW 1 was the dearth of units -- all the Western Powers were basically the same!
Can't say I really blame them - what do the eleventy million flavours of Turkic horse archers bring to the table, when you get right down to it ?But this one, yeah. There are at least 5 types of light eastern horse archers that are basically the same, more if you count mercenary units of the same name as faction units twice.

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