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|Nov 29, 2007, 04:32 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2004
Location: North America
Possible Mod: Stacks of Doom and Suicide Artillery
Hello all, I intend this post to discuss a couple of things that have been bothering me about Civ4: Stacks of Doom and Suicide Artillery. My intention here is to see if anyone else agrees with me, and to discuss possible solutions.
Stacks of Doom:
In my opinion, combat in Civ3 and Civ4 can sometimes be boring due to the stacks of doom. This form of combat lacks strategic depth because your best strategy is to stack all your units in one gigantic stack. It also doesn't reflect the realities of combat, where being surrounded can spell doom for a military force.
In Civ1 and Civ2 the stacks of doom were prevented by the fact that if one unit in the stack lost a battle, the whole stack was lost. This presented an interesting decision for the player because by stacking his units, the player gained the advantages of the stack, but risked losing the whole stack in one battle. In Civ4, artillery was supposed to be the counter to the stacks of doom. But this is not the case because artillery is limited to damaging 5 or 6 units. Thus, your best strategy is to put all your units in one gigantic stack.
I see some possible solutions:
1) Uncap the unit damage limit of artillery. This would prevent stacks of doom, but it would make artillery overpowered against cities; perhaps cities could be treated differently.
2) Limit the number of units in a square to a resonable number, like 6. This a has precedent in the limit to the number of air units in Beyond the Sword. This would bring back strategic depth to combat. There would then be an advantage to surrounding enemy stacks, because a completely surrounded stack of 6 could be attacked by eight different stacks of 6, for total of 48 units. No longer will you have stacks of doom pillaging deep into enemy territory.
This would, however, present a problem for cities, as they might be surrounded all too easily. The defense of cities would have to rely on defense in depth, and on preventing the enemy from surrounding the cities. It may be necessary to increase the limit of units stackable in a city/fort beyond 6. This should be determined by playtesting.
The limits for air, sea, and land units should be determined separately. Land units in a transport at sea, should not count towards the limit for naval units. And of course, people, nukes, and other such special units should not count towards the limit.
Such a limit would also open up possible upgrades. For example, the pentagon might increase the unit limit for stacks by one. Fortresses and cities could be given a higher limit.
Note: I picked 6 as an example. It could just as easily be 12 as long as it is a reasonable number.
Regarding artillery, I don't like the fact that artillery units have become expendable suicide artillery. This was supposed to be a check on overusing artillery, but it does not seem to have been effective, since the best players say: Artillery, artillery, artillery!
I rather like how artillery can reduce city defenses to 0%, without "suiciding" them. Perhaps artillery could be limited to only reducing city defenses and not causing collateral damage when attacking. The city defense bonuses might also need to be refactored as taking cities might become too difficult. A downside is that artillery would only be useful against cities and not against stacks in the field.
Perhaps bringing back ranged bombardment for artillery, with a reasonable percentage limit would be the best solution. Artillery might be capped at say 10-25% damage, which would be a lot as the combat system is exponential, and it would also reduce city defenses. Then, since the stacks would be limited to 6, and the damage they would dole out to stacks in the field would be limited, it wouldn't be such a good strategy to bring piles of artillery. Further, since artillery are poor on defense and you can only put 6 units in a stack, you wouldn't be well-served by putting too many artillery units in a stack; in doing so you would risk losing your precious stack of artillery.
Overall, I think that these two proposals would make combat more strategic, bring more interesting decisions, and reduce unit spam and micromanagement. As there would be less need for units, they could be made more expensive to build as well.
I think these two ideas would be easy to mod in and of themselves. The main problem I see is the AI. The AI would have to be taught the new combat strategies. And the BTS AI seems to be built around using stacks of doom.
So, I am wondering if anyone here feels the same way as I do about the stacks of doom and suicide artillery. If you disagree, why? Does anyone have a better idea or other solutions to the problem?
I am also wondering if there are any thoughts as to how difficult my suggested fixes would be to mod, especially regarding the AI. The AI might actually turn out to put up decent fights if stacks were limited to 6, but then again, maybe not—it would have to be playtested. Similarly, the AI might or might not use the proposed modified artillery with effectiveness. Any thoughts?
Last edited by NP300; Nov 29, 2007 at 05:06 PM.
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