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A look at the drill promotion

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Stalker0, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I am not a warmonger by any stretch, so I'm likely mistaken in my thoughts, but I wanted to get people's take on the drill promotion.

    There are two issues I have with drill in general:

    1) VP warfare is about killing units, not hitting cities. While yes ultimately you have to hit the city, a much bigger part of the war is killing the opponent's troops. This means the drill promotion goes mostly unused in favor of shock for a good portion of the war.

    2) Melee troops are still not good at assaulting cities. At the end of the day, taking damage from cities is still too painful. Melee troops serve an important role in tanking hits and crushing ranged troops. However, the city is only 1 attack (as strong as it is). You are generally getting hit with more ranged attacks than city ones.

    This was reminded to me in my recent game. I was assaulting a city, and had a Drill III tercio fighting next to an Accuracy 3 skirmisher.

    The skirmisher was hitting with a strength of 24.64 while the tercio had a mighty 51.25. That's the value of an entire knight, which makes things seem very strong. Except...the damage of the skirmisher was 21 on average, the tercio 31. Now that's 50% damage, but when you consider that the tercio gets weakened with every attack, and it takes a lot of those shots to take a city...the melee unit quickly loses steam.


    So I'm finding more and more in my games I just don't use drill. I put shock on all of my main troops, and then let the siege engines and ranged units do the city attacking for me.

    One thing I thought was interesting was the naval city promotions that actually reduce the damage that the unit takes from cities. Its an interesting way to reduce the main drawback of the melee attack...and might be something to look at for land melee units.

    But again, I am no war master in this game, so I am happy to be proven wrong.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. ridjack

    ridjack King

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    I actually almost never use Shock on infantry. It's not that I'm in love with the city damage, but Drill leads to Cover, which is amazing. The units tend to go down fairly easily regardless; my melee's main job is to soak up the damage, which overwhelmingly comes from ranged units. Having Cover II melee protecting Medic III ranged/siege makes for a tough nut to crack while the siege is wailing on the city.
     
  3. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    I love the level 4 promotions and think Drill is a bit better than shock as a main promotion. It's my default.

    Spoiler A picture is worth a thousand words (all of them screaming) :
    20180110230322_1.jpg
     
  4. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    +75% against cities for 3 layers of drill is a lot. Stalwart is really good. Blitz is really good. Units with drill can still fight units. Units with shock can't really fight cities.

    I usually go shock on swordsmen because the get it for free, but everything else is drill baby drill
     
  5. MorphBer

    MorphBer Warlord

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    I defenitly suck as a warmonger and used to.follow the same reasoning as you did. Why use drill why would I want drill if I only attack cities when they are allready sieged down to 1hp? (Some reasons were allready mentioned by elliots and grazyg and I chsmged my approach with their tipps)

    1. Do you use you melee units as roadblocks and your ranged do most of the work? Propably, so cover is actuslly the promotion you want to get to and drill is the fastest way.
    2. What level 4 promotions are you aming for? Stalwart is really good for blockers. Blitz is great if you use your melees for finishing blows especially with healing from authority
    3. Check the differnce flanking makes in the tool tips, i find it pretty marginal often after I paid attention to it
    4. Later in the game it pretty much allways sucks to attack cities dircetly because of defensive builings. But as you can see from elliots screenshot prewalls it is actually not that hard to take cities when you sourround them with 3+ drill units especially when without garrison.
     
    vyyt likes this.
  6. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    Even those melee units you send to the city for covering your siege units can hit once or twice against the city, without risking death. It looks like it does nothing, but actually it can make the garrison to die sooner, so the walls fall sooner too. Finishing a siege two turns earlier is actually quite good for several reasons.
     
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  7. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I also used to always go shock on every unit until I heard about other's tactic of cover promoted melee up front with medic promoted ranged units behind. Now I pretty much default to drill->cover for spearmen/swordsmen line and medic for archer line to create that hard to kill front. I find that I can often attack a city with those drill/cover promoted melee units and then heal for a turn or two, and then attack again. The added damage to the city is noticeable.
     
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  8. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost King

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    The bonus vs. cities loses a lot of its luster later on when all cities have castles and arsenals, but early game, cities are a lot softer. You can find opportunity to take even walled cities with just melee units, and Drill helps immensely in that regard.
     
  9. RAuer2

    RAuer2 Chieftain

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    I used to go shock with the thinking that higher flank helped my units vs other units, which it did. Then, I read about the strategy of using drill/cover up front and medics behind (numerous recommendations around the board for this, in this thread I think ElliotS, Crdvis16, tu_79, and more). Using medics was not new to me but I had previously disregarded the idea of cover-promoted units because the promotions seemed so far away (behind all that drill). I was wrong.

    IME, a drill/cover melee force backed up by medics has a much greater impact than the shock-based army that I used to go with. Even a tough-looking city will become a speedbump when a drill/cover force puts it under siege (like in ElliotS' screenshot above). Drill/cover melee backed up by medic is a fearsome city-destroying machine.

    Like CrazyG pointed out, drill units can fight other units but shock units do not do well at all vs cities.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  10. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    Let's be clear, though - Shock is balanced against Drill, right? :p
     
  11. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    I personally think it could use a slight buff. Maybe make it go from +10% CS and +25% flanking to +5% CS and +15% when attacking units. (Making them up to 30% better when attacking units than drill, and then having an interesting juxtaposition with Stalwart.)
     
  12. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    You could also make it 5%, 10%, and retain the original flanking bonus, but I'm not doing the math at the moment - it just seems a shame to lose the flanking. HOWEVER, that may be something that's more appropriate for mounted units anyways, and gives each kind of unit its own flavor...you may be on to something.
     
  13. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    March was considered very overpowered back then. Three shock promotions plus march might not be as tought as three drill with cover, but that unit is much faster. Flanking bonuses may pay off when you can outmaneuver the enemy with more mobile units: position them correctly before attacking. +175% to this flanking bonus might be something, but it's not a strategy I use often. Works with musketeers.

    But I remember, when we were designing this, that the base promotions were considered as a base +10%CS, plus something flavourful, hinting what kind of promotions it would unlock, but not very different between them. Also, this helps AI, for it was considered not smart enough to make use of heavy specialization.
     
  14. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    I make good use of both drill and shock.

    I don't attack with foot soldiers too much -- they're usually just there to occupy space while my horse units pick the fights. So I split between shock and drill depending on what I think I'll be tanking. I generally get shock units when fighting defensive wars and more drill units when I want to siege.

    I've used drill units to take cities during a final round of damage. They do a heck of a lot more than shock units.

    And as people have said, drill tree has good promos.
     
  15. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    As I said, I'm happy to be proven wrong! Clearly I'm not promoting my units as efficiently as I could be, so I will upgrade my play!
     
  16. De_Genius

    De_Genius Warlord

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    Drill is also very useful when dealing with cities with low strength, which could either be recaptured city states, newly started cities or cities where the AI forgets to build walls. With a couple of melee units you can capture the city in a few turns, and if you happen to get some gold from the raiding as well, you can even survive losing one or two units in the process.
    Killing the unit inside a city to bring down the strength is very important and is sometimes worth sacrificing a melee unit for.
     
  17. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    So in the last several games I have changed up my promotions and focused much more heavily on drill. And I agree with the consensus, drill is a really good promotion when used in bulk.

    Shock is honestly not bad, Shock II gives an extra +15% CS if you get 2 guys to flank with you....but the independent durability of drill (and faster cover) are very strong. I appreciate the feedback!
     
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