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City combat strength after renaissance era needs to get a closer inspection & revision.

Discussion in 'Community Patch Project' started by SuperNoobCamper, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    Coastal cities were never intended to a be defensive locations that you hold against an enemy navy with land units, and that's what I'm seeing examples of as evidence for the need for change. Which suggests to me that not having any ships left is the core problem, not how city defenses perform against naval units.

    Perhaps that's not a good representation of the situation, and if so I encourage people to take screenshots to clarify what they are talking about. If ironclads and cruisers need a nerf I'm happy for that to take place. All I want is to make sure we don't create more issues by misdiagnosing the problem.
     
  2. telelavoro

    telelavoro Chieftain

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    Not had first-hand experience with the power spike people are talking about when Ironclads come out, (only really been fighting against earlier ships when it's mattered), but if that's too overpowering, perhaps we could look at reducing their 33% city damage promo
     
  3. Snipergw

    Snipergw Chieftain

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    I agree, cities being able to defend themselves at all (at least, more so than in vanilla) creates a slow and sluggish game that feels terrible to play when on the offensive. Barely moving the city health bar with era-appropriate siege units (or ranged ships) because the CS is so high (and even worse with a garrison, that you can only kill incredibly slowly) is bad gameplay. I'm not saying a city should be defenseless, like in Civ4, but once there is no force defending it, be it an army or a navy, the city should fall in two-three turns.

    Furthermore sieges being so long and requiring good siege setup for many, many turns makes it very hard for the AI to take player cities, since you have so long to respond even if you lost most of your army (or had none to start with).
     
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  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Why not? Its been that way for a very long time in the mod, much longer than the current situation. If I have a city with all of the proper defenses, and lots of guns on the shore ready to kill....why should that city be easy to take by a navy?

    I will also say, I think people are seriously overestimating the power of a single navy right now. You can't make a navy as big as the AI, and certainly not as a big as 2 or 3 of them. When you fight an AI navy your going to lose ships, and at some point you have to retreat and let your city take some of the brunt....and at that point your city dies.

    I've been playing a lot of games lately, and most on water heavy maps...and I see it over and over again. The AI has gotten damn sneaky, it loses to declare on me as my navy is committed to an existing naval force, and slam me from the back, killing several ships. There is only so much a navy can do.
     
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  5. Rosete

    Rosete Chieftain

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    I don't think the evidence is sufficient to warrant a change. I believe this is an opportunity for the player to change their approach to playing the game. You shouldn't settle where you know you can't defend. Or you can raise an army and preemptively strike the AI before they could get up a large navy. Building navy takes away supplies from their army. If the AI manages to out-gun you both on land and at sea, you might have bigger problems.

    In my experience, I often forgo having a navy at all. Navy is expensive and tough to maintain a large enough force to compete vs deity AI. I instead rely on a medium garrison force of range and mounted range units in combination with a road system to defend my coastal cities. Ranged ships have to end turn when they attack so that leaves them vulnerable to my range counter on land.

    I think it is healthy that people are raising these points. We can strategize around these difficult scenarios. But I don't think balance tweaks are needed. The issue is not game-breaking; and changes should be made to improve stability, bug fixes or other optimisations.
     
  6. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I will tackle each of these 3 points.

    1) On higher difficulties unless you are playing heavy war style, the AI ALWAYS outguns you on land and sea. The AI always has more units and more supply. The human has to beat the AI with smart play, which includes using your defensive terrain and structures, so that smaller numbers of troops can beat larger armies. On the sea though defensive terrain is limited, so your city areas traditionally provide that area to compensate for numbers...but those areas have been heavily nerfed.

    2) My thoughts exactly...you can't just rely on a navy to beat 2-3 AI forces. You have to use your land too....and the thing is, that is not working right now.

    3) The thing is....these CS changes are experimental, they were only released a few months ago....and the primary reason for the change was that the CS code was archaic and strange AND the RCS numbers for cities were TOO LOW. Aka cities were too weak.

    The default for an experimental change should always be "hey this isn't working, lets change back"...not, "sorry no more changes guys, you are stuck with what you got".
     
  7. Cokolwiek

    Cokolwiek Prince

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    I could not agree more. That should be sticked somewhere as a rule in those plans for 2020 or going for gold threads.

    @JamesNinelives and @Rosete: I think you do not take into account specifics of naval warfare into account. Apart from what others say with movement, tight military supply, and massive AI forces (on higher difficulties they are no joke, they are carpets of ships of one AI after carpets of ships of other AI), the issue mainly concerns peaceful tradition or progress, with one or two, or even several coastal cities, which on immortal or deity need all or most their available supply deployed as land forces to survive, and any navy building is out of question, as they have room for five or ten ships, which due to nature of naval warfare would be destroyed by any AI fleet quickly.

    @Asterix Rage I don't think we have any major stability concerns. I don't play much recently, but I never encountered a single CTD or gamebreakig issue with the game since I play VP, which is more than half a year (apart from than CTDs for two version, which are now tackled)

    I agree with @Patee, @Stalker0, they provided much information why navies tend to be so annoying right now and why the current state just makes coastal cities a waste.

    I also agree with @SuperNoobCamper that aggresive AI is a good thing and I would like to see it even more opportunistic in next versions, so I do not agree that toning AI down in will resolve anything (though obviously wonders penalty now is a little too high).
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
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  8. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN King

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    If an enemy land force wants to take my city, they can't do so in 3 turns. I can see them coming and the terrain will slow them down.

    With the current state of naval cities, ironclad and cruisers can take my cities in 3 turns. I can't get my navy there fast enough. If I split up my navy to leave a few ships at each city, they'll just die quickly. I can't slow down an enemy navy with terrain, and they all move 4 or 5 tiles per turn, so yeah, it's a game changing problem since its causing me to do everything possible to avoid settling coastal cities.

    I'm not talking about exposed coastal cities - cities that can be attacked by multiple ironclad. But even cities that can only be attacked by one ironclad a turn are falling over frustratingly quickly.

    Also, the AI now is good enough to take advantage of it, so props to @Gazebo and the others who work on the AI.
     
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  9. Rosete

    Rosete Chieftain

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    You raise some very good points about the difference in terrain between land and sea here. Often at sea there's not much you can do against a large navy given a smaller navy. It often is a brawl to see who got more mele ships. I think that is a dev decision which is baked into civ5.

    But I think this is an area where we players can play around the AI instead of hitting it with balance nerfs. The defender can set up citadels near cities to damage ships. Forts and citadels with lands units on top of them tend to draw fire from male ships. I noticed the AI often prioritise clearing units around the city first before going for a siege. So as long as you have units around the cities, that should keep the AI distracted for long enough for your forces to beat them back. Combine this with a road network to cycle your units and your coastal cities should withstand most naval attack.

    Yet, even with all that defence, your cities might still get taken by AI. They might get so ahead somehow and have a carpet of ships that your city just don't hold. It is not over yet when your cities get taken. You still got your units around and they're pissed. You don't need to retake the city right away. Let the AI have the cities for a few turns while you take out their navy trying to defend your former city. Your former tiles now serve as healing bulb. You beat back their navy and liberate your city.

    Now that's a lot of work, and its hard. But isn't that is why we play? It is challenging and hard but through our wits we overcome it. I don't think the ships need a nerf and I find the current numbers on city RCS to be fair. I believe there are enough things counterplay vs a large navy tactic wise that a balance tweak is not needed.
     
  10. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN King

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    There are points in the game where the naval units vs cities interaction is balanced. But the balance with ironclads is off. An ironclad has 60 strength. The strongest land units at the same tech level, field guns and gatling guns, have 40 and 42 CS. These days, because city cs is basically the cs of the land unit inside + a small amount of cs for walls, castle, and arsenal, the city end up with a cs of... 50? Navies take the cities frustratingly fast. Its not a solution to just say - let them take the city and then take it back. That means a city gets wrecked. It's aggravating.

    I'd propose a CS nerf of 3-5 for cruisers and ironclads each and see how that plays out. Plus improve city health recovery.
     
  11. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    I do agree with @Stalker0 that this has to be balanced.

    As you have stated, naval battle is basically a look at who has the largest navy as the one with the most ships generally can outlast the enemy through attrition and win that way. That basically means a human player has little to no chance against AI in naval confrontations on maps that requires both an army and navy. We think we can agree on that.

    Regarding playing around the AI, we can do so more with land battles than naval battles. Setting up citadels can work but how many citadels do you have available? If you have major land wars, how many can you spare for your coastal cities? If your opponent has numerous Ironclads and it takes them something like 3 to 5 turns to take down a city, do you think that Citadel will do much? Regarding drawing fire, we must remember that naval ranged units have to do something against naval melee units. Therefore, we have to remember that naval ranged units hit very hard and, as the human player, we cannot take such a beating as we cannot replace units as quickly. We can also see that land units can only inflict so much damage, even with focus fire, and maybe sink one ship per turn and that doesn't buy you enough time to save a city. We've seen screenshots by @Stalker0 and, despite his ranged units, it was a losing battle. Cycling units can only do so much since healing takes time and time isn't something coastal cities have a lot of at the current situation.

    Regarding retaking cities, we must remember that some of these cities might be core ones. Losing them means lost infrastructure and being set behind more. Why are we encouraging a playstyle that (a) the AI won't know how to take advantage of and (b) sets you back when you clearly did nothing wrong other than naval units being too strong? Let's not forget about that Citadel which is now aiding your enemy. I'm sure that Citadel is doing wonders for you too if the positioning just happened to make it difficult to reach.

    I think people do want challenging matches. However, there's a difference between challenging where you have a number of things you can do to eventually come out ahead (like having sufficient defenses, proper city placements, not falling behind in tech) and dealing with frustrating mechanics that requires some ridiculous response (like losing the city on purpose to whittle down enemy before retaking it, not settling coastal cities). As of this moment, the only real counterplay I read from your post is getting a larger navy than your opponent so you can dominate. Everything else is either less than optimal or just encouraging some really cheesy strategy. I hope I don't come out as harsh but there's no fun to losing cities when you are doing everything right.
     
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  12. Kim Dong Un

    Kim Dong Un The One & Unly Supporter

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    Keep in mind: we had complaints previously when naval melee was considered weak, so then they were buffed, but then they were still too costly in combination with the resources they used (coal), which lead to them becoming resource-free, which then lead to a cry of them still being useless against cities, which resulted in the bonus% to city attack - this is all prior to Zebo's overhaul of the city-strength mechanics.

    After all these tweaks I think naval melee is generally in a good spot now, so I'd just start with simply removing the bonus% to city attack from Ironclads+, as that seems to be the root of this issue (I personally think CS against contemporary land units is fine now in regards to giving/receiving damage).
     
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  13. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    It seems to that the imbalance here is still primarily due to being outnumbered. If you don't have any supply to build a navy, and building land units is more efficient because they can defend both land and sea, that doesn't seem like a good reason to nerf naval units.
    That's a good point. Tbh though, that suggests to me that another part of imbalance is the nature of naval combat itself. What if for example naval units were able to fortify for a defensive bonus the way land units can?
    Sounds good to me. In the context of this discussion it does seem a bit excessive.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  14. Legen

    Legen King

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    While it is a pain to defend a coastal city right now, there's the absurd on the other side: when the human actually manages to raise a post-Medieval navy, the game becomes ridiculously easy:

    Spoiler :
    20200324151335_1.jpg


    Also, that's on the low end of how much damage you can get; I managed to hit cities for 600-700 damage later on, conquering AI coastal cities in 1-2 turns. The AI doesn't always garrison its cities, garrisoned cities don't last long either way, and not every AI city ends with an Arsenal built.

    Sieges are easy now once you get a navy, and the AI doesn't make use of siege promotions the same way humans do. Navies now feel more like an exploit than a feature.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
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  15. Cokolwiek

    Cokolwiek Prince

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    I do not think it would change to much. What determines dynamic of land warfare is terrain and movement. You can fortify a ship as much as you like, and an enemy that outnumbers you will just hit you with four frigates and run away due to four movement. By the way, please use spoilers for images.
     
  16. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    When you are outnumbered four to one you shouldn't expect to be winning the fight. I understand that it's possible to do so on land, and on Deity it may be necessary to win against overwhelming odds but I don't think that should be the standard by which we balance things.
    Yes, I agree.
     
  17. Cokolwiek

    Cokolwiek Prince

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    I agree, but currently being outnumber two to one is a death sentence on sea. It could be just 4 frigates and 4 corvettes against 2 and 2. They can wipe out your four units in three turns, taking one ship as casualty or none, if they micro well.
     
  18. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN King

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    If it feels like an exploit when humans are using it, this also suggests that it needs to be changed.
     
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  19. Rosete

    Rosete Chieftain

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    I believe such interaction is there by design. Firaxis decided on the naval system which VP build upon. I think in the current state, to win naval you need to build up a critical mass of mele ships to completely overwhelms the opponent. But that's ok because the game isn't about winning in naval. A big enough navy to beat down or defending vs massive AI fleet is just one tool to deal with such threat. I think there are enough tools to directly combat navy attacks (defensive structures, defending units, road systems, etc) and indirectly (diplomacy, preemptive strike).

    The ranged ships were changed to stop movement when they attack, leaving them vulnerable and allowing for counterplay from the opponent (which is a very good change btw). But this also means that the best way to win naval is to build mass mele ships and overwhelm your opponent. If mele ships are then nerfed, it would just slow combat down with no real change. I'm still going to build mass mele ships and smash them against the enemy navy. If mele ships are nerfed to a point where they are weaker than ranged ships, then the pendulum shifts. Now I'm massing ranged ships because there are little drawbacks since mele ships are so much weaker now.

    With that said, I do think there is a magical balance number that we can reach with enough testing and balance tweaking. However, I do not think at this point in the mod development these smaller tweaks should take place. These smaller number changes should be reserve for after the mod go gold. VP balance wise I think is in an OK spot. There are many places still where small balance change should be made to improve the experience. But I believe the patch should be a place to introduce bug fix and stability improvement, not balance tweaks.

    I hope I'm not coming across as trying to shut down discussion and telling you "no more balance patch". Rather I think these sort of discussions are necessities because they bring to attention places where balance might not be optimal. These balance discussions also show people are passionate and care about the mod. However, I believe that at this point in the mod development, changes made to the mod should be in the form of stability and bug fixing. Balance tweaks should be reserve for after the mod go gold.
     
  20. SuperNoobCamper

    SuperNoobCamper King

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    I think you are missing the original point of discussion here, Navy VS city defenses is a one sided war with time to react whatsover.
    What brought up the human navy VS ai navy is the limited efficacy of cities and land ranged units in deterring naval forces of the AI which forces human players to either give up settling coastal cities from the start or build a navy big enough to compete with the AI which in my experience is really tough to do on immortal and sometimes even emperor against AI spain or Mongolia.
    Unlike the AI, Humans are usually restricted by supply and production which forces them to make the best use of their limited number of units which is not news for anyone here but a human player on land can win a war against an AI army twice or even more the size of human army using geographic choke points, hit-and-run units, etc but this is not doable on water tiles making the entire naval warfare a matter of who has more ships ... The answer to which 9 out of 10 times is the AI HOWEVER, the few times i mmanage to get a bigger navy the game is over.
     
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