Lines of Battle is a tactical gameplay modification for Total War: Rome II. We strive to make Rome II a more enjoyable game, while also maintaining a level of realism and historical and historical accuracy. Battles are overhauled, units rebalanced, missiles reworked, and much, much more (read below). Soon Lines of Battle will become a true overhaul, and lend itself to the truly epic experience that Rome 2 deserves, with totally overhauled factions, allowing one to progress from the early period to the late in a manner that is historically plausible. Following are some of the features that we will be implementing.
More Tactical Battles:
The battles in Rome 2 vanilla are just that. Vanilla. Groups of men collide and twist every which way in a mediocre dance of death. Battles are over before you can even admire the amazing animations which CA have made. A melee should take time, as men deflect the blows of their enemies, and commanders adjust their positioning to get the best of the enemy, rather than a simple rush and a rout that takes all of 5 minutes. This is combated in several ways. Walking and running speeds are adjusted across the board so that units no longer have a sort of "Benny Hill" effect, but some lightly armored units will be able to run quite quickly, so there is actually a noticeable difference between the speeds of heavy infantry and light infantry. In addition to this, melee stats have been reduced and re-balanced across the board. Units have also been edited to keep their formations much better, and will only descend into an undisciplined mob on occasion. Morale, too, has been reworked, with morale effects being much more dynamic. Fatigue has also been given a rework, with its onset now coming faster, and its malus being heavier. A smart commander would do well to ensure exhausted units do not find themselves assailed by fresh reinforcements. These changes, along with a slew of other tweaks, serve to make battles in LoB a more enjoyable and tactical experience.
Progressive Area of Recruitment System:
In Rome 2, expansion is simple. Conquer a provinces, convert the buildings, recruit hoards of Praetorian Guard. Well, not in Lines of Battle. Lines of Battle will introduce a progressive AOR system. What this means is that certain units are only available in certain provinces. Praetorian Guards, for example, may only be recruited in Italian land. So what does this mean for expansion? When a faction conquers a province of a different culture, they will not be able to convert the building directly into a high tier barracks. Instead, it will be converted into a lower end barracks which will give access to low end troops of that culture. Eventually through upgrading the barracks, you will be able to recruit (in terms of a Roman example) Legionaries. This means for a Roman player that they must choose between an auxiliary barracks or integrating the province for greater long-term yield. This is just one example, however, and each faction will have it's own flavor of the AOR system.
Expanded native, auxiliary, and mercenary rosters:
This is fairly self explanatory I think. Each faction will have their rosters expanded or shaped into a more flavorful mold. This does not mean, of course, that suddenly every roster will be filled to the brim with silly fantasy units.
Improved Campaign AI:
With the help of Josst (UAI mod), we have done some improvements to the AI. In addition to giving the AI some help with their food management (Thanks Mitch) we have also increased AI aggressiveness and change around some of their priorities. Eg: the AI will be less likely to spam low cost units like slingers, and will instead prefer to go for better units.
Other Battles Changes:
In addition to the aforementioned battle changes, there are some other larger changes to the battles. One of these involves the throwing weapons used by many factions. Rather than firing on the charge, these units will be able to fire at will, including whilst on the defensive. In our testing we have found that it does not negatively affect the AI, and is both more enjoyable, and realistic. Another major change involves Hoplites. Ahiga has changed around some of the Hoplite mechanics in order to make them more effective and useful as a unit.
Hello to anybody who might be reading this, this is the first bit of news to be posted for Lines of Battle. As we ensure our compatibility with the current build of Patch 9, we want to let people know where we are in development.
Currently the majority of the new units have been successfully added into the game. What this means is that our packs now include several hundred new or redone units for nearly all of the major factions. In addition to the new units many of these units have brand new skins or at lease different variations. Ahiga has been hard at work on loads of new textures, especially for the Eastern, Hellenic, and Punic factions. You can see one such example in the screenshot of the Parthain Cataphracts. Gunny has also been working on getting things set up for the Barbarians, and in addition to the "late era" units that have been added, we have also incorporated some skins from Prussian_Warrior's Armored Suebi mod, to give our late Germans more of a proto-migration era feel.
Right now a lot of work is also being put in to the new structure of unit unlocks. A number of units were unnecessarily locked, so we are fixing this to allow for unlocks to feel like they are coming at the right time, as well as setting up later techs to have the opportunity to unlocked some of the aforementioned late era troops.
Similarly, we are working with the campaign to improve the overall experience. Agents are being totally reworked in order to ensure that one can not field hoards of level 8 agents to pummel anyone who stands in your way into the ground. Rather, agents numbers are being restricted some, and gaining experience on an agent takes time. Therefore, agents become more important, and losing an important agent has more of an impact, especially one that a lot has been invested into. The campaign experience will be further enhanced with the implementation of several mods, namely Traits, Talents, and Toadies. This will provide for a better traits and ancillaries system, which, combined with our two turns per year setup, will bring a sense of attachment and importance to the characters that come by in the campaign. Also included will be Meaningful Resources, by Xil0. This excellent mod serves to add several trade resources throughout the map, as well as provide for a proper trade system, and trade routes. For example, if country A is producing horses, country B may trade with country A. Following this trade, country B may now build a building to allow them to trade in salt with country C, and so on, leading to massive trade routes that can span from Albion to Asia.
Also an important aspect of the campaign are the startpos changes that are implemented, these changes are as follows:
Carthage: Absorb Novo Carthago and Corsica
Rome: Absorb Etruscan northern Italy
Ptolomies: Absorb Cyrene
Seleucids: Absorb Media.
These changes will serve to both enhance gameplay and allow for major factions to be a little bit more major, without going too overboard.
The campaign is also marked by a number of AI changes, notably to assist armies recruitment, ensuring the AI will spring for units it can afford, rather than ones with low upkeep. In addition, the major factions are all around more aggressive, so late era campaigns will see proper power blocs forming, hopefully diminishing the "Time to steamroll another 1 province minor again" effect.
Finally, the last major point is actual battle gameplay. Lines of Battle started off as a mod focused on this, and will strive to continue to provide truly enjoyable battles. This comes both from reducing blobbing and dancing whilst in formation, as well as increasing battle time. Battles are no longer over in 7 minutes, rather they can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on a number of variables.
In the end, we are striving to improve Rome II. It has so much potential, and that is what we are trying to bring out. Through our battle and campaign changes, we seek to make Rome II into the experience it deserves!