1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Going for Gold: Promotions

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Stalker0, Jun 18, 2018.

?

Is this item in a reasonable state of balance?

Poll closed Jul 2, 2018.
  1. Yes

    58.3%
  2. No

    41.7%
  1. vyyt

    vyyt Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,060
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    @SpankmyMetroid , nope, the other unit(s) does not necessarily have to be next to your unit. Imagine a 2-tile circle around your catapult. The other unit can be left or right from the targeted unit on this circle.
     
  2. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Messages:
    1,120
    I think of splash damage as a secondary promotion to go after once you've secured range or logistics because the splash effect gets so much stronger in conjunction with those promotions. I agree that going for splash first when the unit only attacks once at 2 range is weak, though. Starting at artillery you get that extra range for free so it might make sense to go splash right out of the gate at that point or after getting logistics.

    Also, UUs that get logistics for free can be fun to go for early splash. Ship of the Line or H'wachas, for instance.
     
  3. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    6,937
    Location:
    Malaga (Spain)
    Splash is better for defense. You can move out an infantry unit, advance the splash artillery, wreck havok, clear the spot and move a defensive unit covering your artillery again. For this, you need to be in your territory.
     
  4. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    5,055
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Wow, I had never actually realized how bad Formation I and Formation II are.

    They both give the same bonus: +10% defense in open terrain and +25% vs mounted units

    So even having both bonuses, they don't add up to the base 25% bonus you get for being in rough terrain. They only affect defense, and they only add up to +50% vs mounted, which is what the spear line gets by default. Even if I had completed everything else on a promotion line, I would still take Drill I or Shock I over the Formation bonuses.

    Proposal:
    Give +15% attack/defense in open terrain
    Give +33% vs mounted
     
  5. civplayer33

    civplayer33 King

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2017
    Messages:
    965
    Both attack and defense seems a bit much, me thinks...and Charge only gives +10% on attack in open terrain and +20% against wounded so it would have to be changed as well to be more consistent; how about for Formation it's +15% defense in open and +33% against mounted and for Charge it's +15% attack in open and +33% against Wounded?
     
  6. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    5,055
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    a bonus vs mounted units and a bonus vs literally any unit that doesn't have 100hp are not apples to apples. Even if the numbers are lower, charge is fine.

    • First off, you can almost always get the full value of charge because it's very easy to get at least 1 ranged shot off onto a target you were going to hit with mounted anyways. Mounted are more mobile, so they have a better time picking their targets as well. While not always guaranteed, the open bonus comes into effect far more often, and compliments the general strategy of focusing on units in open terrain, who aren't benefiting from the +25% rough bonus anyways.
    • You don't get to decide what units hit your formation spearmen, and it sure as hell isn't going to be a mounted unit, who gets to pick their battles way more than a spearman does.
    • As I said before, a +defense bonus in OPEN is an active invitation for you to play dumb with your units. at 15%, you still have to invest 2 promotions just so you get 5% more defense in open terrain than if you had just moved the spearmen onto the hill. You could have just gotten shock I and II instead, and had 20% in open and 45% in rough.
    In summary, Charge compliments optimal play with horsemen anyways. In order to justify the XP investment in formation, you have to use your spearmen in an impractical way, so the formation promotion needs to be strong enough to justify playing like a moron. Even with adopting both promotions, your spear/sword is still better off fighting in woods/hills.

    Alternately, formation I/II could be changed to:
    +20% defense in open terrain
    +33% vs mounted units
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  7. civplayer33

    civplayer33 King

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2017
    Messages:
    965
    Good point on the relative merits of Charge; you've convinced me that it doesn't need a buff, but I still think it's overbuffing Formation...

    First I'm pretty sure that Formation is a mounted melee and armored melee exclusive promotion, so spearmen wouldn't have it to begin with. It's purpose is to give mounted units a possibility for pure anti-mounted specialization, which it gives to them even in its unbuffed state. If you pick Formation instead of Shock now, you get the same defense most of the time (since mounted will be mostly in open terrain) but 15 % more attack against mounted than you would with Shock I, which is, after all, what it's supposed to specialize for. That makes 30% more attack against mounted with Formation II compared to Shock II, which is not bad. I would agree, however, that it can use a buff and therefore I like the extra attack (bump to 33% per promotion) as well as some more defense, but I think giving the extra general attack bonus is overkill. The rationale behind the defense bonus would be that it's more likely that you end up with less or no moves after your attack when chasing mounted, since those are obviously also more mobile, and thus will be more vulnerable against the counterattack because you can't move back to safety or at least to a more defensive position, so it's certainly not useless for mounted units and fits the role that Formation creates quite well. A similar logic can be applied to chasing down non-mounted units that were able to pull back more, which you can now do with a bit more risk due to having the extra open terrain defense and thus the endeavor could be safer than with Charge if you're out of moves after your attack.
     
  8. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    5,055
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Horsies get it too, yes, but melee units (sword/spear lines) get access to it at Drill II.

    It makes more sense if you think of it as a horsies-exclusive promotion, since horsies don't get defensive bonuses from rough terrain, but melee units can take the promotion too and it's total bunk for them. Maybe melee units just shouldn't get access to the promotion, but you're still left with the promotion being completely at odds with how someone is supposed to use horsies, and it just not being very good at its job, even on those units.

    As you have so astutely pointed out, the Charge promotions available to horsies on the shock line would still be twice as good at just half of formation's numbers because the charge promotions are boosting normal horseboy stuff, while formation is a freak, squirreled away on the promotion line that gives bonuses vs cities to a unit line that has -33% penalty vs cities. The units I put drill on are spearboys and swordboys, so that's where I actually see the formation promotion as an option.
    upload_2019-11-9_9-0-8.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  9. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    6,248
    I'm not the biggest fan of the open terrain bonus to begin with. I would rather get a "double flank bonus" similar to the Guerrilla unit or something to show the power of having multiple units...you know....in formation.
     
  10. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    5,055
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I had interpreted the "formation" as being how the units are arranged on that single tile. Like spears in a phalanx or legions in a tetsudo formation. I think the bonus vs mounted is a perfect reflection of how a disciplined formation is the natural counter to a cavalry charge. It's not about flanking, it's about unit discipline and holding the line. The open terrain bonus is obvious when viewed in this light as well: It's virtually impossible to create a formation on uneven terrain. Classical warfare was entirely about the consideration of whether a heavy infantry formation could be held in what terrain, and whether you could bait the enemy into a fight on favourable ground under which conditions. Consider the Xanthippus reforms.

    This is why I have argued for making tweaks to the formation promotion. An IRL Spear phalanx or pike block is virtually useless in rough or wooded terrain, yet they get this 25% bonus and are used optimally in rough terrain in civ. This is why the Roman legions beat Carthage/Macedon/Greece in the first place: They picked variable terrain where shortswords > spears. Yet, we have this situation where spears are incentivized to go into the woods or the hills because they have no bonuses in open terrain. Formation SHOULD be a spearman's bread and butter, and yet it's worse than useless to them
     
  11. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    6,248
    Your right, while I like my idea there is no real reason to implement it, as I agree number tweaks can do the job. And shock already represents some of what I have argued.

    I personally think the open terrain defense is too niche, I don't mind a more defensive focus though. So I would go with this model:

    +10% Defense, +33% anti-mounted. What this means is:

    1) Defense: Spears have the same power as if they have taken Drill/Shock
    2) Defense vs Mounted: +33% vs drill/shock
    3) Offense vs Mounted: +23% vs drill/shock
    4) Offense: -10% vs drill/shock

    So the idea is this is a melee unit designed to hold a key spot...can take the pain from mounted units, and will attack mounted units that get in ranged...but otherwise holds its ground against other melee types, and can hold it pretty well.
     
  12. civplayer33

    civplayer33 King

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2017
    Messages:
    965
    I see; I don't remember the last time I gave an infantry melee unit Formation so, yeah, maybe not the best promotion there, but I do use it on mounted occasionally: I'll have one or two Charge horses for chasing down wounded and one Formation horse, primarily to hunt Skirmishers, who can be quite elusive and not always easy to wound first; the defensive bonus there helps with not suffering too much from their "free" counterattack. I also like giving Horses the Drill line in general because Stalwart and Blitz is quite useful on them and allows one to use them far more recklessly and to much greater effect, especially when they're not very near the main forces. Bottom line I just worry that buffing Formation attack strength so much would make mounted melee too strong, especially in relation to skirmishers, who would be one of the main "victims" of this change in addition to the fact that their melee complement gets a buff in general.

    And I understood "Formation" to refer to the unit's implicit tactics, as well, since a horseman unit isn't meant to represent just one horseman, but a whole bunch of them, who would then be using some sort of "formation tactic".

    I like Stalker's suggestion more, even though I do think that the open terrain boost makes more sense narrative-wise, but for balance a general defense bonus is probably better, especially since infantry melee can get the promo, too.
     
  13. Rekk

    Rekk Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Messages:
    1,048
    Formation is at least as much a defensive tactic as it is an offensive tactic. Bonus to flanking doesn't really encapsulate it. You could give it something similar to the melee naval promotions, and have it grant additional combat strength for every adjacent friendly unit.

    Otherwise, open terrain is much more hospitable to formations than rough terrain is, so it makes sense that the bonus occurs in open.
     
  14. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    5,055
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    See, this is the part that's weird for me. Cavalry also have formations... In a charge.

    Cavalry charges were the dominant tactic for at least 500 years of medieval warfare. Nothing could withstand the cavalry charge; that's why the knight is so dominant in civ. The cavalry would all get in a formation and smash into an infantry line in order to trigger a rout. The fact that the Charge promotions give bonuses vs wounded units, in the context of how charges were actually used, is really strange. They should give bonuses against units at full HP. Horsemen WERE also used in mopping up routed/wounded enemy forces. You can see this dichotomy best in Polish tactics, where the Hussaria (the winged hussars) were used to smash and scatter the main infantry line while the Pancerny, an ancillary cavalry force, went after the stragglers and routing forces.

    So I'm not really sure why Formation and Charge are both on mounted units, since they are effectively synonymous, and I'm not sure why either of them does what they do. I think we should have a promotion that does what Charge does, but it should probably be called something else. Then charge could be a different promotion with different bonuses, instead of formation, which I just don't see having much of a place in anyone's kit.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalry_tactics
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  15. civplayer33

    civplayer33 King

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2017
    Messages:
    965
    Well they wouldn't just sit there when attacked, they'd form up against the attacker and do a counter-charge, I assume, unlike the infantry formation tactic, which would be to remain more or less stationary; but yes, the Charge/Formation distinction is weird narrative-wise. I do like it gameplay-wise, though.
     
  16. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    5,055
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I like stalker’s idea too, but there’s also a third option I’m angling for:
    changing the anti-cavalry bonus on the spear line to free formation I promotion. Swords get cover, spears get formation, and both have the option to get lvl 2 of that free promotion before they invest in drill/shock.

    if we made formation free to spears, then I would advocate for +15% defense in open and 33% vs mounted. So they have the option of doubling that to +30% in open and +66% vs mounted at lvl 2, and that seems very spear/pike/tercio to me.
     
    vyyt and civplayer33 like this.
  17. civplayer33

    civplayer33 King

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2017
    Messages:
    965
    Hmm I like this change! The only caveat would be that now you've buffed infantry melee units that upgrade past Fusiliers, since they'd keep Formation, unlike now, where they lose the +50% against mounted...might need some adjustment there...though horses are disappearing at that point so really only the defensive boost would be relevant...hmm might require reducing their CS by a point or two in late game.
     
  18. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    5,055
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    If you keep a swordsman alive through the eras, his free cover passes along too, and that’s much better than +15% defense in open, which still can’t hold a candle to just being on a hill. The cover also combines really well with the DFP line.

    It’s a far superior flavor boost, in my opinion, with minimal effect on later eras, but keeps legacy units from previous eras feeling a little more special. I don’t think it would affect balance overmuch.
     
  19. civplayer33

    civplayer33 King

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2017
    Messages:
    965
    Yeah I like the "bonus" for bringing units through the eras but open terrain isn't just the domain of horses, but also armored units and I've already been worried that infantry melee is getting too strong against them...I mean ever since armored units were first used en masse (since WW1 I imagine) they've been a bane to unarmored infantry; the IFVs that are used today and seen in the model of the mechanized infantry ingame aren't much of an exception to that either, as a tank will do in such an IFV no problem, since it simply doesn't have the armor to withstand his main gun and its own gun (if any) will barely even scratch the tank. Since tanks like open terrain and should absolutely excel there, especially against infantry units, I'm skeptical about even more defense being given to infantry (on top of the DFPs that were somewhat recently added), in open terrain, to boot.

    Tanks in Atomic and Information only have a 10 CS advantage over melee infantry and there aren't even any real "anti-infantry" promotions; with Bazookas having their massive anti-tank bonus, helicopters coming online, rocket artillery being quite effective against them as well and even air units having anti-armor specializations available I fear we're making tanks far weaker than they should be. The Formation promo only touches this a little bit but it and the tank issue should probably be discussed in a more dedicated manner but it does exacerbate what has been a growing problem for a while now, in my view.
     
    vyyt likes this.
  20. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    6,248
    The flavor in my head for charge is that while charges were powerful, they failed against high morale infantry that stood strong in formation. So to me the charge promotion is the representation that the infantry is a little bit scattered and morale a little weaker than absolute max, and that point the charge is at its most devastating.

    My idea included PADs idea of replacing the mounted bonus with formation. So with my idea you have a Spearman with 1 promotion (formation I and II) now gains an extra +10% defense and +3% bonus against mounted compared to the current Shock I spear with its innate +50% mounted. The spear is a little bit tankier in the new version, but has just a slight upgrade to anti-mounted overall. This makes the spear an overall a more defensive unit with the same anti-mounted power.
     

Share This Page