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Topic Subject: Intense difficulty on normal?
posted 01-13-14 10:51 AM EDT (US)   
Hi all, I've been a Total War player since Shogun in 2000 and I think I've visited HeavenGames here since the late 90s, but this is my first time registering to post!

Anyway, I bought Rome II on release day, however, I was not able to play this game until the last week of December because despite trying every fix/alteration in the book, it would not run on my old computer! So I built myself a new one for Christmas and Rome II runs great on it, bingo, started my first campaign December 29th or so. However, now I'm experiencing a level of difficulty in the game unmatched in my history of playing and I'm only on normal! This contrasts sharply with all the "this game is so easy" posts I saw in September, so I'm wondering if current patches have amped this up (at least on the campaign map)?

To explain further, I always play my first campaign as Rome, house Julia, so I did the Prologue which was simple and then launched into the game. It went well enough through my conquest of the Etruscans and Veneti, I soon had most most of Italy except 2 Cisalpane Gaul provinces and Sardinia.

Then Carthage declared war on me, then Macedon, then Sparta, then Athens, then Nova Carthago then the Veneti rebelled! I had 10 enemy agents wrecking every city I held. Veneti reformed, swept down through Italy and took every northern city including Rome while I was fighting Carthage over Sicily. Then I lost Syracusae and Brundisium to Athens. Did I mention I had already played 165 turns and these were all the lands I managed to conquer? Then lack of money and attrition set in.

The problem was both the amount of wars declared on me at once and enemy agents. My agents could not kill or wound more than 1 or 2 other agents, so every turn I had 3 destroyed buildings in 4 provinces (not enough money to fix), slave revolts and unrest. When I was reduced to Sardinia and Corsica and Consentia, while being seiged at 2 of those, I quit the campaign, thinking I'd just messed up.

Restart - This time I understand all the new game dynamics and knock off the Etruscans in 10 turns or so and turn the Veneti into a client state. Awesome, now I can build an economy! 5 turns of that and Carthage declares war, I think I have it this time, and set out to invade Sicily. As soon as my feet touch Sicily, Athens, Sparta, Epirus, Egypt (never even see one of their boats) declare war on me! Next two turns? 5 different tribes in Illyria/Alps declare war, then Nova Carthago and Macedon!

At this point, 900 enemy agents appear again and start destroying my life. I have 3 full armies, but two of them have to live in Italy to fight slave revolts/Latin rebellions every 3 turns. One holds out in Syracusae, fighting off assaults by combined armies of 4,500 soldiers (land and naval combined) of Carthage, Epirus, Macedon/whatever tribe has boats.

I'm losing it at this point. I have never struggled so hard in a Total War Game on normal? No one accepts diplomacy unless utterly destroyed in battle, all my trade agreements get cancelled and no allies come to help, slowly turning into enemies! This game was going the same as my first so I decided to look for mods that would allow me to continue my present game and at least make alliances feasible/stop enemy agent insanity.

I found the radious mod in Steam, liked what it said about reducing enemy agent insanity and installed it. Mercifully, it has reduced enemy agent building damage and extreme usage to what I consider a normal level. I still get slave revolts and damage, but not every building in my province or a slave revolt every 5 turns.

I also finally hold Italia, Magna Graecia and just took my first non Italian conquest in Carthage itself last night. Also, other nations now offer me peace/trade agreements or accept them more often which helps. While this has eased the game up a bit, I still find myself attacked by armies of 4,000 or more every 2 turns at multiple cities and I periodically lose control of cities in Italy.

Seems I am fighting for mere survival of Italy rather than actually conquering much of anything. I cannot conceive of myself actually holding 2 non-Italian territories at this point while defending Italy. I get attacked on the east and west coast of the peninsula constantly by huge naval forces and in Sicily and Corsica.

It's just brutal, and I'm on normal! Is this odd? The problem is more on the campaign map. I tend to win most defensive battles I fight even outnumbered 70-30, but sometimes repeated assaults leave me with 100 troops in garrison and I'm dead. I'm generating enough money (2,000 - 4,000 per turn), but I spend every dime on rebuilding/new defensive units.

I feel like Sega heard early complaints of "too easy" and turned this into the underwater level from Ninja Turtles 1 for NES. I've never been so angry and frustrated with a TW game, feels like some kind of nightmare job rather than a game and is killing my desire to play. Every time I look for help online, I find posts from September and October that say "AI is passive, I control 20 provinces in 50 turns." WTF! That is not the game experience now.

Can anyone confirm this, or offer guidance? Or am I'm living in an episode of the Twilight Zone where I'm the only person experiencing this and everyone else is fine? lol

[This message has been edited by Blacksheep01 (edited 01-13-2014 @ 10:58 AM).]

Replies:
posted 01-13-14 12:32 PM EDT (US)     1 / 5  
It might be the House you are playing as. I believe its the Junia that have an automatic diplomacy hit with all factions that is considerable. I've never had a faction declare war on me unless I had negative relations, or they were dragged in by an ally. That's what I think your problem is.

Another issue I think you're having is that you don't take into account the effects of the buildings you are constructing. Most buildings have a -4 public order penalty after a certain stage, and get higher as you further it. Gotta balance those out with happiness buildings, like temples and civic buildings in the province capitals. Also make sure to convert the culture of the province to your home one, as cultural differences are going to have considerable negative public order penalties. I know as Carthage culture is the bane of my existence as Punic culture isn't very wide spread like say Celtic or Hellenistic.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
posted 01-13-14 01:43 PM EDT (US)     2 / 5  
Sounds like someone is not using non-aggression pacts. Yes they are stupid and yes they cost a lot but in return the silly diplomacy system tells other factions that you have factions that like you (positive relations) and that makes them less likely to attack.

in Greece it is usually Macedon that emerges victorious so if you get a non-aggression pact plus trade agreement with them you can feel more safe on that side.

Also you should properly prioritize your expansion efforts. Carthage will be at war with you in the first 20 turns regardless but their armies will be weak so stay defensive there until you finish your business in the north. cut a deal (trade+non-aggr) with the largest barbarian faction you find in the suebi area and combined other barbarians will not dare to attack you. that lets you go south and properly deal with those sidonians. all those desert/iberian factions are nobodies because you heavy infantry will cut through them like grass. avoid sea battles and get yourself a nice auxiliary mercenary elephant and watch your battles solve themselves.

make 2-3 full stacks of legionaries with cavalry support and force-march them around to troubled places. you can control two armies (40 units) simultaneously so use numbers to your advantage.

use ultra unit size: it's easier on your infantry when facing archers,sieges, artillery and cavalry.

also keep taxes to a minimum and NEVER take slaves in battle because they drop public order. also NEVER make client states because they will turn on you eventually.

make sure you always fully control provinces to avoid the cultural difference problems and issue edicts.

finally be more cheap with the money. you should be able to reach 6000 a turn by turn 30. most of your money will come from sea trade. stupid trade system means you gotta pay 1500 bribe to get a 150 per turn trade deal but eventually the pay off. also they are unlikely to declare war on you to avoid the reputation penalty.

start over using the site's opening moves guide and see how it goes.
posted 01-13-14 02:30 PM EDT (US)     3 / 5  
You are rushing forward too much. You need to consolidate your holdings and make sure to convert the local population to your culture so future rebellions are unlikely and agent actions will not be as devastating.
posted 01-13-14 03:10 PM EDT (US)     4 / 5  
Thanks so far everyone!

I will reply to a few pieces here
Sounds like someone is not using non-aggression pacts.
I try to! I actually have a few non-aggression pacts, but it seems like 90% of the time when I tried any kind of diplomacy it was rejected! Although since I installed Radious mod, I have achieved a few more trade agreements. I will make sure to dedicate more time to non-aggression though. I always try trade first and it fails.
Another issue I think you're having is that you don't take into account the effects of the buildings you are constructing. Most buildings have a -4 public order penalty after a certain stage, and get higher as you further it. Gotta balance those out with happiness buildings, like temples and civic buildings in the province capitals.
This is one that I actually know about and work on. Every place I conquer I build and upgrade temples first, and I am slow to build things that add squalor or public order hits. Still though, I've had a problem when I take a new place, like Syracusae, build a temple to level 2, then an enemy agents destroys the temple (and 3 other buildings) then incites slave revolts. Meanwhile, I can't kill or wound the agent quickly. I have been a bit perplexed by this, I seem to be following build order right, I even place the edict to "convert to Latin culture" out, still struggle when enemy agents attack.
also keep taxes to a minimum and NEVER take slaves in battle because they drop public order. also NEVER make client states because they will turn on you eventually.
This I did not know! I usually just kill captives, but looting takes slaves I think and I loot every new city (unless I'm retaking one of my own), so I'm probably killing myself with slave overload.
stupid trade system means you gotta pay 1500 bribe to get a 150 per turn trade deal but eventually the pay off.
Also did not know about the bribe level! I often try bribing at 500 or 1000 and it never works. I will bribe everyone 1500 from now on!
You are rushing forward too much. You need to consolidate your holdings and make sure to convert the local population to your culture so future rebellions are unlikely and agent actions will not be as devastating.
I've actually tried doing both things. I am a defensive Total War player as a rule, I don't move until my city is running well and I have a full stack. On my first play through I kind of sat in Italia for 40 turns building, but then when I finally left, everyone had gigantic armies, 8000 boats and 300 agents a piece! On the second play through I moved really fast thinking that would work, but now I'm stuck again with provinces that hate me.
in Greece it is usually Macedon that emerges victorious so if you get a non-aggression pact plus trade agreement with them you can feel more safe on that side.
Another good tip! Didn't realize Macedon usually won, I only see the Illyrian coast and it's usually full of barbarians and Epirus, can't see Macedon winning in there.
start over using the site's opening moves guide and see how it goes.
This is what I will do next!

Thanks everyone!

[This message has been edited by Blacksheep01 (edited 01-13-2014 @ 03:14 PM).]

posted 01-14-14 00:31 AM EDT (US)     5 / 5  
I've actually tried doing both things. I am a defensive Total War player as a rule, I don't move until my city is running well and I have a full stack. On my first play through I kind of sat in Italia for 40 turns building, but then when I finally left, everyone had gigantic armies, 8000 boats and 300 agents a piece! On the second play through I moved really fast thinking that would work, but now I'm stuck again with provinces that hate me.
Agents such as Champion and Dignitary can help you to pacify a conquered region faster--thus freeing up your army.

Certain buildings give better garrison. Ports also give additional garrison as long as it is your culture. Use that to your advantage on vulnerable settlements.

[This message has been edited by el_bandito (edited 01-14-2014 @ 00:32 AM).]

Total War: Rome 2 Heaven » Forums » Campaign & General Discussion » Intense difficulty on normal?
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