Total War

Tweaks for Gongsun Zan

In light of the new and very good changes to Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, I’ve been thinking about how the existing 190 factions could be buffed or reworked to allow them to keep up with new factions. I wrote a very lengthy post about all the governors and also wanted to discuss some of the warlords. Instead of a gigantic list though I figured I’d take the warlords one by one as I think of things. I’ll be starting with Gongsun Zan.

As he stands GSZ’s biggest strength is his simplicity he doesn’t have a complicated mechanic to worry about and using him is very straight forward. This actually makes him a great character to learn the basics of the game with which is why I wouldn’t suggest a major overhaul for him. Though he does have some aspects that could be improved on to make him a bit stronger and feel a bit more unique.

The first change would be to have his unique administrators add an army slot like normal administrators do. The extra specialization the unique administrators bring is decent, but the lack of an extra army slot like a normal administrator would bring is actually kind of a nerf when the positions are supposed to be stronger than average administrators. The ability to field more armies would also fit well with GSZ’s militarized aesthetic.

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I would also enjoy if there was more incentive to use your unique administrator slots over normal slots. Like you receive some kind of buff if you fill all his unique administrator positions. This buff could be anything from a simple percentage boost to all income, faction wide corruption reduction, or a discount to unit upkeep. Corruption reduction would probably be the most helpful as with no copper in the North GSZ struggles with corruption reduction.

Speaking of corruption reduction, it would be nice if the top tier of the military governor building helped reduce corruption in adjacent provinces. As I said earlier, lack of northern copper makes corruption a big problem for you so the ability to build some adjacency bonuses for reduction would go a long way to curve corruption from your conquests west or south to secure copper. Adjacency bonuses would also make turtling up in the north a bit more viable.

For unique characters GSZ already has Zhao Yun who is a monster. Beyond him I would like to see his strategist Guan Jing given art work. Guan Jing’s existing background bonus (plus ammunition for own retinue) is actually not bad especially for a strategist. Since he’s in a more militaristic faction I wouldn’t mind if he was a more combat oriented strategist like Xu Shu or Li Ru with a sentinel health pool. That would make it more possible to charge him with Whitehorse raiders/fellows. In addition to Guan Jing I’d also want GSZ’s sun Gongsun Xu. At present Gongsun Xu is quite bad, especially as an heir. His background bonus isn’t faction wide and he’s a sentinel with poor authority. Currently his only positive is he’s a sentinel with above average cunning making him a decent leader for white horse units. I would like see Xu changed into a commander. That would give him much better heir potential. He could also keep the extra high cunning stat so he would continue to synergies well with the white horse units. He could even get a special skill tree with some of the bandit commander abilities that buff ranged troops and provides campaign movement range. As for background bonuses I’d prefer his be changed into a lesser version of his dad’s buffs. Like currently GSZ gives -20% cost to white horse units and +50% post battle loot. I would give Xu half of these benefits -10% cost to white horse units and +25% battlefield loot. Alternatively they could make his existing bonuses to supply and morale faction wide instead of own army while commanding as they are now.

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As for unique units GSZ white horse units are quite strong the change to cost feels like the white horse raiders actually worth recruiting. I can’t remember if the units have fatigue resistance, but if they don’t it should be added to them. I’m not sure he needs any additional unique units, but if he were to get one I’d suggest a shield/melee cav to round out his cavalry roster a bit more. Call it a white horse guardian and make it similar to a jade dragon with low damage, high armor, high mass, and low speed.

With those changes I think GSZ would be in a very health and complete spot. What do you all think?


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