Discussion: military progression and the importance of promotions

CppMaster

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How about if those OP promotions like range or logistics were simply removed? Or balanced, so they are not OP.
 

nekokon

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Removing features is bad design, as those promotions provide new gameplay for existing units. Also they're not op by themselves, being able to stack them (with high level units) is the problem.
That's also why I suggested to have promotion focus only on terrain centric benefits, so that even if you stack as many as possible you can only get certain benefits from one type of terrain at one time.
 

nekokon

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We're going off topic but no they're not op by themselves. As in a siege unit with only range or only indirect fire would only be able to get 1 free shot at another siege unit before both side are equal, while having both range and indirect fire make one permanently out of reach for the other. Or having march or blitz are good, but having both march and blitz allow infantry to attack then run away and heal, thus can kite another forever. That's the kind of op I'm talking about.
 

CppMaster

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I also think that they are both OP and fun. But that makes AI struggling against a player, because he better utilizes them.
 

CrazyG

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I think the powerful promotions are sometimes necessary to break stalemates.

Or they just speed up military wins. The really good players could probably grind out the AI without any promotions.
 

Rekk

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The really good players could probably grind out the AI without any promotions.
From what I understand, the only way the really good human players can win against current AI production is specifically because the human units are much higher level.
 

nekokon

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Yea, and that's why I stated that gamey behavior like prolonging war to grind xp is very beneficial. You need those advantage to compete with AIs late game, but at the same time the process isn't fun or logical.
 

CrazyG

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From what I understand, the only way the really good human players can win against current AI production is specifically because the human units are much higher level.
On this patch AI armies really aren't that large.

Without promotions it would took much longer but I think I would eventually grind through, at least if its a 1v1 and we have about the same number of cities. Though maybe I'm underestimating how no promotions would mean less damage. I'm in the minority but I think promotions that deal damage are the key, less so than the flashy options such as march or +1 range.
 

ma_kuh

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Unit promotions should probably be something that warmongers benefit the most from. Earlier in this thread there was mention of how promos-on-buildings might boost non-aggressive civs too much, or enable rebounding with units making scaling is less mandatory. I'm not sure I agree, but if the consensus is that this would benefit non-aggressive play, I think that would be the wrong direction.

That said, I think promotions would be better designed around enabling certain roles for a unit class. As they stand, they're all basically flavors of damage boosts, with Medic and maybe Cover being the exceptions (in terms of things people actually want to pick). I actually don't think the current system is that far off, but a lot of the niche leaf options come after [Promo] II, and the XP to gain them feels like it takes entire eras to complete. I'm thinking of things like Splash I, Woodsman, even Medic. I would love to see a lot of these moved just one tier lower so that mid-game fresh recruits can fill in if you lose your specialized units. I see the promos-on-buildings approach as solving the same problem, which is fine. It's sort of what Barracks+ is trying to do already with the free XP, but it wouldn't cause follow-up promotions to cost more. But then is that a buff to warmongering or peaceful?

I think there's also a bit of a difference in how people are seeing promos-on-buildings. I've been thinking they would serve as stepping-stone promotions to increase the floor of your units; others seem to be suggesting they lower the ceiling. Just something to mention.
 

nekokon

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The overall design would indeed buff non-aggressive civs, but doing so by limiting the upper power peak of very high level units (thus weakening warmonger) while reducing the gamey xp grind, which is a good trade-off I'm willing to take, speaking from a warmonger perspective. Warmongers do enjoy fighting, but not the kind where you have to handle your units with utter care to make sure they're alive and can stack tons of promotions until late game, or keep them range attacking a small, abandoned city over 1000 years.
Also the power got redistributed and not simply reduced, as units will still get classified into specific roles based on what building/upgrade you're stacking in the same city, you just can't stack a few op combo anymore (and would make more logical sense that an army fighting for a long time in a certain war would get better fighting at that specific location/terrain than suddenly able to change their main duty from taking cities to medical assist)

There're also ways to keep warmonger's advantage through this design. For instance we can put some building/upgrades into militaristic policies to limit access to non-aggressive civs, or the building can give basic upgrade that leads to those uber upgrades, similar to Zulu's Ikanda (thus you still need to fight enough to get access to those upgrades).
 

Hinin

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I'll just throw an idea on the wall as a fun experiment :
- We remove the concept of stem promotions => Promotions are accessible based on the level of the unit or a previous promotion of the same speciality
- We make promotions much more specialized, with more power, but also potential drawbacks, meaning true specialization based on the chosen promotions
- A unit cannot go beyond a certain level, based on the military buildings in the city in which the unit was created, policies / tenets etc => For example, a unit created in a city with no bonus whatsoever won't go beyond level 2 ; this means giving a military building to a city will allow units previously created in the city to gain access to the new level afterwards
- Experience is won much more slowly (like 2 times slower), and military building don't give base experience anymore (everything is won in combat, at least for a large part of the game)

This system has the advantage of limiting the potential growth of player units while also making units present on the map for a long time able to cumulate a few powerful promotions to specialize. This would allow each unit archetype to have several "sub-classes" based on the bonuses and drawbacks of promotion combinations you take, and would mostly eliminate "filler promotions".
 

ma_kuh

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- We remove the concept of stem promotions => Promotions are accessible based on the level of the unit or a previous promotion of the same speciality
- We make promotions much more specialized, with more power, but also potential drawbacks, meaning true specialization based on the chosen promotions
I like this a lot. You can build drawbacks into the tree, for example: You can't get Range without Spotting or something, which means an inherent -10/-20% damage (compared to current). Theming the lines would be a big win for me; I know the AI might struggle with this approach, but I think you could tune the payoffs to make them generally playable. They get extra promotions after all to smooth over this loss in optimization already.
- A unit cannot go beyond a certain level, based on the military buildings in the city in which the unit was created, policies / tenets etc => For example, a unit created in a city with no bonus whatsoever won't go beyond level 2 ; this means giving a military building to a city will allow units previously created in the city will also be able to access the new level
- Experience is won much more slowly (like 2 times slower), and military building don't give base experience anymore (everything is won in combat, at least for a large part of the game)
Interesting, you could implement this by granting the "tier promotions" to units trained by the city/as a result of policy/other trigger, and make "tier promotions" unpickable by level up?
 

t99KJwEd

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You could combine both ideas: Make each building give its own promotion, perhaps just a simple +%CS, similar to how diplo units work. Then remove Shock/Drill/etc and specialise all the interesting promotions into distinctive pockets as in Hinin's concept.
 

josh4

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- A unit cannot go beyond a certain level, based on the military buildings in the city in which the unit was created, policies / tenets etc => For example, a unit created in a city with no bonus whatsoever won't go beyond level 2 ; this means giving a military building to a city will allow units previously created in the city to gain access to the new level afterwards
- Experience is won much more slowly (like 2 times slower), and military building don't give base experience anymore (everything is won in combat, at least for a large part of the game)
This would simply make authority unwinnable or unbearable grinding slog. To some extend, you win games with the same starting units you make to ward off barbarians.

Idea that XP would be gained only in combat and some more specific promotions would be given by military buildings seems interesting however. That would entail some military national wonders to be unique while not easily spammed. Probably a unique promotion chosen by event? So that people can still just lock good, bad, neutral events off, just with enabled event system?
 

Hinin

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This would simply make authority unwinnable or unbearable grinding slog. To some extend, you win games with the same starting units you make to ward off barbarians.
I mean, I play with unit supply severely limited, unit cost increased, and some promotions buffed to compensate, so in my case there wouldn't be a slog. I do find that the current carpet of doom playstyle that is visible starting the middle of the game is bound to be removed one day or another : it's just too grindy for most people, makes tactical decisions less important and creates wars decided mostly by economies instead of military might and tactical superiority.
 

nekokon

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The doom carpet problem can be taken care of by providing tactical AoE option (not nuke) like napalm (burning debuff on a tile much like current nuclear radiation) or carpet bombing (would also hit ally if you don't get out of the way, and give diplomatic penalty if killing ally unit) which are a lot more fun to play with rather than getting artificially limited by even lower supply. But that's a topic for another day.

Generally I don't like the concept of hard limit anything in the game like Hinin's hard level cap which encourage gamey behavior even more ("saving units which are capped", very similar to "prioritizing units which you plan to level grind until end game" right now), and even less for heroes units (units who are extremely high level). That's exactly what we currently have at late game if we went through the tedious grinding: extremely strong high level units, too strong AIs need to get balanced to deal with it, thus funneling even peaceful civs into grinding xp to deal with the AIs bonus. It's a horrible feedback loop.

A better way of limiting power creep like that is to soft cap it with promotions which can only be activate one at a time (thus terrain centric ones like I suggested, you get rewarded with good tactical decision, not just free bonus stats anywhere) or just use the default "bonus vs cities" or "bonus vs units" without branching into uber upgrades at the end of the tree. The implement would simply be removing all uber upgrades from promotion trees and give them to special mutual exclusive buildings. They're already being gated by tech/policy so no need to artificially cap the level, but all specialized trees must be specialized solely for the roles and not giving extra bonus for other trees (like how drill and shock both give 10% bonus cs against everything currently so they can be stacked)
 

greenfieldpark

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The overall design would indeed buff non-aggressive civs, but doing so by limiting the upper power peak of very high level units (thus weakening warmonger) while reducing the gamey xp grind, which is a good trade-off I'm willing to take, speaking from a warmonger perspective. Warmongers do enjoy fighting, but not the kind where you have to handle your units with utter care to make sure they're alive and can stack tons of promotions until late game, or keep them range attacking a small, abandoned city over 1000 years.
Also the power got redistributed and not simply reduced, as units will still get classified into specific roles based on what building/upgrade you're stacking in the same city, you just can't stack a few op combo anymore (and would make more logical sense that an army fighting for a long time in a certain war would get better fighting at that specific location/terrain than suddenly able to change their main duty from taking cities to medical assist)

There're also ways to keep warmonger's advantage through this design. For instance we can put some building/upgrades into militaristic policies to limit access to non-aggressive civs, or the building can give basic upgrade that leads to those uber upgrades, similar to Zulu's Ikanda (thus you still need to fight enough to get access to those upgrades).
As a warmonger i was initially wary of the changes proposed. There is so much downside to being a warmonger. At least my units are super strong compared to a turtle or peace loving civ. Makes sense from a role play standpoint as well. Surely a civ constantly at war would be much better at war then a civ that isnt. By giving peaceful civs buildings that boost their units out of the gate, for me, really takes away all my war monger grinding advantage.

However if there is a compromise like nekokon suggests id be all for it.
 
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