A new feature in Medieval 2: Total War is reputation. In short reputation reflects your actions in the game. In terms of game mechanics reputation is a number ranging from -1.0 to 1.0, with 0 being neutral reputation. All factions start with neutral reputation (or "mixed" as it is called in-game).
Your faction's reputation affects how other faction's feel about you and how they will respond to your diplomatic offers. In the course of the game various things will happen that cause a drop or rise in your global reputation. These rises and drops can be of a fixed nature or of a normalising nature. Normalising means that the game calculates a (usually small) drop/rise in reputation by using two numbers: a target reputation and a divisor. The game calculates the difference between a faction's current reputation and the target reputation. The resulting value is then divides by the divisor to come up with either a drop or rise in reputation.
Levels of reputation
There are eleven levels of reputation and these are from lowest to highest:
- Very Untrustworthy
- Very Reliable
- Very trustworthy
Factors that affect reputation
The following factors are considered by the game by default.
- Having an alliance with another faction. This will normalise your faction's reputation to 1.0 with a divisor of 400. Example: you start a new game, form an alliance and click end turn. The next turn your reputation will be 0.0025 points higher (the difference between target and current reputation is 1, divided by 400 gives 0.0025).
- Offering military assistance. This will raise your global reputation by 0.1 points. Note that this is not the same as offering to attack a faction through diplomacy (which reads as "military assistance against..." in-game) but means that you actually take part in a battle with an ally or a neutral faction (to which you have given military assistance).
- Releasing prisoners. Releasing any number of prisoners results in a rise in global reputation of 0.01 points. Releasing more then 80 prisoners gives an additional 0.025 points increase. Releasing prisoners is the best way to counter the drop in global reputation a war gives (more on that further down).
- Releasing enemy characters. Releasing a character raises global reputation by 0.025, regardless of the number of characters released. Note that this has to be an actual general, it doesn't work with captured captains. Capturing an enemy character isn't particularly easy when there is only one character in the enemy army as they have very high morale.
- Occupying a settlement. Occupying raises your reputation by 0.05 points for each settlement you take and is an easy way of raising reputation early on in the game (because of few public order problems).
- Being at war with another faction. This will normalise your faction's reputation to -1.0 with a divisor of 800. With a similar example to the alliance above: you start a game, declare a war and click end turn. The next turn your reputation will be 0.00125 points lower ( -1.0 / 800 ).
- Stealing back a settlement. This might be the case when you give away a settlement trough diplomacy and taking it back afterwards. It will lower your global reputation by -1.0 points.
- Nullifying an alliance through diplomacy. Cancelling an alliance this way drops your reputation by -0.1 points.
- Breaking a treaty. Breaking a treaty such as "trade rights" and "military access" lowers your reputation by -0.15 points.
- Bribing a settlement. Bribing a settlement (with your diplomat) lowers your reputation by -0.15 points.
- Attacking an ally. Backstabbing will lower your reputation by -0.5 points.
- Breaking an alliance. This seems to be when you have to chose between two allies when you go to war. It will lower your reputation by -0.1 points.
- Executing prisoners. Executing any number of prisoners lowers reputation by -0.01 points. Executing over 80 prisoners causes an additional drop of -0.025 points in reputation.
- Executing an enemy characters. Executing an enemy general that's been taken prisoner causes a drop of -0.025 points in reputation, regardless of the amount of characters.
- Sacking a settlement. Sacking causes a drop of -0.02 points in reputation. Sacking a settlement when a faction is still a horde causes a drop of -0.05 points.
- Exterminating a settlement. Exterminating causes a drop of -0.05 points in reputation.
- After each turn the game will normalise your faction's reputation with a divisor of 200.
- On Easy difficulty reputation is normalized to 1.
- On Medium difficulty reputation is normalized to 0.
- On Hard/Very Hard difficulty reputation is normalized to -1.
- A common misconception is that using spies/assassins will lower your reputation. Another states that the chivalry/dread of your faction leader also effects reputation. Both are not true. Although the use of spies/assassins can result in war which will give you the normalization of being at war.