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How to render archers more attractive?

Discussion in 'FfH2 Modmods, Scenarios, and Maps' started by Calavente, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Calavente

    Calavente Richard's voice

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    this is an open question. really.
    currently, unless you are ljos or amurite, one does not really have an interest to go to archers. unless you're screwed, without copper nor horses, you "might" want to get some archers to get defense while you turtle and hope for higher-grade units, or try for some iron.

    DISCLAIMER:
    Spoiler :
    So here will come a HUGE wall of text, sorry for the faint of heart, but the others know I'm prone to those.

    I'm just writing my "ideas" there, in hope I'll be able to play-test it in a personal modmod.
    However, that one shouldn't come very soon, or maybe even never.
    I'm not sure I'll have the time to learn, mod and play the mod. It's funnier (for the moment) to try to play the other mods that are updated way more quickly than I can play the games.

    So as I said, I'm just here to throw my reflexion in the open, mainly in order to not forget it.

    If you want to use some (which I suppose won't happen), feel free.
    If you want to comment, please do so !!! I love to have discussions like this. And it would help me do the right thing if ever I mod-mod this.


    now, why are archers bad :
    -they are costly
    -they need a costly building
    -they have so low attack str.
    -->-they are hard to level (never attack so few xp)
    -->they cannot counter attack/repell invaders/pillagers.

    -they are not so much better in defense than warriors which already get 25%CD.
    (archers are 5str , 25% city def, warriors are 3str 25%CD, 4+25% with bronze)... and iron warriors beats archers any-time (save on hills).

    Further in civ, esp in FFH ranged units are somehow wrong as compared with RL.
    Archers in FFH are strong defender, weak attackers.

    In RL archers are
    -strong ambushers, / hit-and runners, strong first attackers,
    -weak defenders (unless behind walls).
    -archers are costly to train, but very very powerful if you can afford them, but they won't be the one assaulting walls.

    so, what is the target?

    -a unit more interesting.
    -a unit closer to RL archers
    -a unit that can get xp
    -a unit that can help secure you empire
    -a support unit (ie, strong but cannot take the cities alone)

    I'll only speak about archer, LB being a stronger archer.


    1): what did EitB do ?
    EDIT : cheaper archer, cheaper archery tech.
    However Axes are cheaper too so archers are not really improved.

    2) what did RifE/MoM do?
    -ranged attacks
    -interesting disciplines.

    issues:
    -xp gain,
    -scalability
    -attack without risk is a bit imbalanced.
    -stayed with the assumption that ranged are good defenders.

    3)My ideas :
    Spoiler :

    a) scalable/interesting
    Spoiler :
    archer can get bronze weapon

    Level-up
    -training yard/archery give passive xp to archers... but bigger amount
    -potency-like effect for ranged units (or only for defender leaders?)
    -valor-like effect on each archer
    -no need: +50% withdraw (or more) gives enough easy xp: either good xp as low odds, or +1 when withdrawing.
    b)ambusher
    Spoiler :
    -can do collateral (to half many units as catapults, with lower efficiency than cats) eg : 3 targets on top of the attacked unit
    -50% withdrawal (so they don't die at each collateral attack)
    --> my early collateral
    - -25%vs cities (for cities you will still need cats or many archers)
    nice addition : firearrows (enchantII) give +1str, +50%vs cities (total archers get +25% vs cities: flaming arrows are much more dangerous for a city than normal ones))

    c) stack defender
    Spoiler :
    -increased defensive strike.
    2 ways of doing it:
    -just up the numbers of chance to strike
    -def strike doesn't "use up" an attack : ie: one unit can DS all inter-turn if not killed AND if it had the chance.
    d)good once behind fortification:
    Spoiler :
    -+50% CD
    -"defender-like" : fortification bonus is doubled / tripled (ie 10 or 15% per turn until 50-75 instead of 5%per turn until 25%)
    -walls (and bowyer???) give +1str each to archer units in city for as long as present in city (either 1 turn, or removed after 1move)
    -forts give +1str to archer in it ?
    e)balance
    Spoiler :
    -reduce archer str to 3/3 or 3/4 or 4/4 depending on the choices above.
    invert enchant I and enchant II : +1fire str at KotE would go a long way to render archers interesting. and 25% to melee would still be useful as 25%=+1 as soon as you have 4-5str.
    f)what of blow-pipe / javeliner / darven slinger?
    Spoiler :
    -javeliner : more ambushing effect, even less city attack, less defending strength, evne fortified:
    -slinger, less 'humpf' in defense, but concussive damage, any rock is a weapon.
    -blowpipe : poison damage, more ambush than defense
    My Build 1) (untested for balance, normally XML only)
    Spoiler :
    Archer
    a)archer is 3/3 + bronze (as a warrior, less than axe), firearrow give +1str, +50%vs cities.
    b)collateral (5-10% to 3 additional units), 50% withdrawal, -25%vs cities
    c)unit can do DS all turn long (unless not-xml friendly)
    d)+25%CD, +25% hill def, fortification bonus is TRIPLED : +100% when in city : 6str, 8 with bronze (currently, it is 5+50%(25%CD, 25%def)=7.5) less than actual, better with bronze, but it scales less well if further %promotion are gained (hill def, combatI-V…Etc) but I stated that archers are not mainly for defense.
    e) archer is 3/3 and not 3/5.
    Spoiler :
    f):
    javeliner
    4/3 str, 65%withdraw instead of 50%,
    1 collateral targets (instead of 3)
    -50%vs cities instead of -25%,
    def-strike only once per turn
    only normal defensive bonus (+5%/turn)

    slinger
    -->cheaper.
    -->blitz
    -->+15% against melee and mounted.

    -->no increased fortification
    -->less collateral : 2unit instead of 3

    blowpipe
    -->-1str, +2/1 poison str,
    -->otherwise, same stats as javeliner.

    g) LB : same but stronger :
    -5/5 str + bronze/iron or 5/6
    -same number of collateral but higher damage %
    -higher def strike chance
    -higher withdrawal : 65% or so.
    Balance
    Well, without playing it nor doing a mod-mod, I think this should be balanced.
    -Being able to be an early collateral that can be hasted/commandoed makes it a nice alternative for cats, but less so when facing cities.
    -as a collateral hit-and-runner, it can really help weaken invaders/pillager so a "weak" other unit (archer /warrior) can do the mop-up.

    -if bowyer/wall/forts give +1str for 1turn (and citadel +2), you can really garrison unit and efficiently protect the surroundings: imagine a 4str unit (3/3 +bronze), buffed to 6 due to walls and bowyer in city… any unit less than 1 turn from it will be crushed: an effective iron-axe…+ can to collateral and has withdrawal rate.


    However balance can be made here
    -cost of unit : might have to be decreased or increased depending on use
    -withdrawal rate might be too strong… however, remember that 50%withdraw might seems huge… but the unit is "only" 3-4str (not counting the fort bonus as that would need more than my xml knowledge). So generally it WILL attack with very low ratings. (and it's more costly than warriors so it won't be able to be as cost-effective as "warrior-pults' without an innate withdrawal).
    -valor effect might be needed,
    -invert enchant1/2 ... (same as shadow1/2 can be inverted)

    -bowyer /citadel gives +1 str, walls/fort give only +1attack (same effect for anti-pillage, but less defensive str
    My Build 2)here
    Spoiler :
    My build 3) for MoM (which has ranged attack mechanics) : here
    Spoiler :


    4) OTHERS

    4a)Terkhen
    build 1): here
    Spoiler :

    build 2) : build1) updatedhere
    Spoiler :
    4b)Tasunke
    build 1) here:
    Spoiler :
    or same build but archer 4/5 and no "+25%vs melee"


    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Calavente

    Calavente Richard's voice

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    another (simpler) option:
    no change in mechanics :

    archer is 5/5 no bronze NEW(LB is 7/7+bronze, no iron)
    -25%city attack NEW
    +25%CD +25%Hill str NEW(ie: +25% when present on hill, either before attack or when defending)


    how would it play?

    if you have no copper: YOU WANT ARCHERS :
    they are stronger than no-copper axes AND more efficient than no-copper warriors (+2str)!!!
    but not for city-crushing.
    against cities, axes have a +50% vs cities on top of archers, which offsets the +1str.

    if you have copper:
    archers are competitive with bronze-warriors or bronze-axes for defensive purpose.
    -greater str than bronze warriors which have the same 25%City def; same greater str useable for active defense.
    -equal str than bronze axe but 25%CD and 25%Hill str that axes don't have, so better for active defense, worse for empire crunching.

    if you have iron.
    -warriors are more efficient (so NO-IRON-WARRIORS IS A MUST)
    -axes are more powerful...
    BUT enchantII equilibrates it again. (esp ifit is same number of techs from bronze weapons to iron weapons as from archer to enchant II (is it?)

    Pro:
    it might do the trick
    it is WAY SIMPLER than above ideas

    cons
    -might be a bit OP at start, bronze-warrior is crushed (not in hammer efficiency), no-metal axe is crushed and no-poison blade hunter (and PB is very far away) is crushed.
    -and Ljos will be insane (6/5 str at tier II.... )
    -mostly, hunters (and later rangers) lose it all, (they only got +1mvt vs those new archers) and -25%vs animal is not enough as 4+25%=5.. so against animals archer is as strong as a hunter... (-25%def vs animal for archer?... not good against FoL tiger-spam)
    -need an idea to render it a bit more competitive against iron-axes or iron-warriors without it being too OP against bronze-axe ...
     
  3. Kiech

    Kiech King

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    I think warriors only have access to bronze weapons? If not it should be the default.

    I am not sure of the best way to boost archers without overpowering the elves. Ideas:

    Nerf horses do we really need 95% withdrawal and immunity to first strikes and a bonus vs archers?
    Nerf retreat to attacks only (isn't this in BTS?)
    Move city defender promotion to archery.
     
  4. Apeiron

    Apeiron Warlord

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    My two cents :
    1) increase iXPValueDefense for Archers
    2) Add a "precious wood" ressource (lumbermill to get gold) wich give +1 strenght to Archers with the Archery tech
     
  5. Calavente

    Calavente Richard's voice

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    in most modmod warriors get access to bronze iron...ETC
    (especially in vanilla, and MnAI. (and magister?))
    in the spirit of warrior vs axe balance.

    the real interesting course of action for axe vs warrior is "no iron warriors"
    +either cheaper axes OR "no bronze warriors"

    horses have a bonus vs archers but AH not (only 95% withdraw option).

    however horses, until AH, are not THE weapon of choice. Warrior is.

    therefore the way to improve the interest for archers is not (only) by nerfing horses...

    it is either :
    -change archer
    -nerf warrior & axes with respect to archer.
     
  6. xalien

    xalien Prince

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    Some ways I can think of (all for purely defensive approach):
    1. IIRC it was RifE that added bonus vs warriors to axemen. This bonus could be given to more higher tier units (champions, rangers etc.). Warrior's would still be good defenders against early game units like warriors, hunters/lizardmen, horsemen.

    2. remove "cover" promotion

    3. increase strength of "city garrison" or give a fortification bonus

    Also, it's been a while since warriors got limited to bronze weapons only.
     
  7. Terkhen

    Terkhen King

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    I agree with you, Calavente. Archers never feel like a good building choice because of the issues you mention. It is as if they are outshined by other unit types in all of the tasks they couldbe doing. With regard to Erebus in the Balance, IIRC the only change is reducing the cost of archers and dwarven slingers from 60 to 45, and reducing the cost of javelin throwers from 90 to 45.

    After reading I wrote the following proposal taking into account the different options that are mentioned here.

    Spoiler :
    Archers, Dwarven slingers and Javelin throwers can use bronze weapons.

    Archery units get a collateral damage of 20% with a limit of 10% to 3 units.

    Archery units get a -25% against cities.

    Archery units get a inherent 20% withdrawal chance and access to the Flanking I promotion (but not to the greater ones).

    Flaming arrows gives a 50% bonus against cities.

    Cover I and Cover II bonus against Archery unit reduced from 40% to 30%.

    Archer, Dwarven Slinger cost reduced from 60 to 45.

    Javelin Thrower cost reduced from 90 to 45.

    Archer combat strength reduced from 3/5 to 3/4.

    Dwarven slinger combat strength reduced from 3/5 to 3/4.

    Javelin thrower combat strength reduced from 4/4 to 4/3.

    Longbowman combat strength reduced from 5/6 to 5/5.

    Crossbowman combat strength reduced from 9/13 to 9/12.

    Marksman combat strength reduced from 11/11 to 11/10.

    Gargoyles get the 20% withdrawal chance, but they don't get any of the other new archery features.


    I'm ommitting the extra strength on forts and cities because I think that it would require somewhat complicated DLL changes.
     
  8. Kiech

    Kiech King

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    Those changes sound pretty reasonable, Terkhen.
     
  9. Calavente

    Calavente Richard's voice

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    nice of you Terkhen to take my rambling seriously.
    your proposal is nice.
    you are more experienced so I'm sure that 20% withdrawal + access to flanking (which I didn't thought about) will be enough. but maybe risky?

    I'm wondering if it would be hard or not to make drill promotions increase collateral but only for ranged units... (or do we need to creat 4 alternate drill promotions?)

    for extra str in fort and cities... I'm sure it would be worth it. However you are right... much coding is needed.

    I thought that one could replicate the initial coding for metal weapons that needed a forge & pass in city. (+ new promotion that has 100% chance to disappear each begining of turn: "supplied" / "wall defender" or something.)
    however I suppose that is in the DLL and that it would be "UC consuming"... check of every ranged unit +check if on fort / on city with wall/bowyer + on_unit_move check, + on end_turn_check + on_beginning_turn check (to remove from units that left cities/fort)...
     
  10. Terkhen

    Terkhen King

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    Thanks :)

    I don't consider myself experienced in competitive/multiplayer play. My only experience in that regard is many casual games with some friends. Because of this, all feedback is welcome :)

    I considered that 50% was too much for a starting unit, but letting the player decide if he wants a higher withdrawal rate via promoting should be okay. In MNAI with this setup, with the initial 20%, the promotion and the inherent 10% withdrawal rate given by Advanced Tactics, you can have archers with a withdrawal rate of 50%. It may be risky to use archers but given their offensive qualities, I think that it would be quite easy to abuse archers if they had a 50% withdrawal rate.

    As far as I know, promotions cannot give different effects to different unit classes. That would require alternate promotions. I guess that a new archery only promotion tree could be added. Each level of the promotion would increase collateral damage slightly. I'm not sure if making collateral damage more common would have unintended consequences, though. My first thoughts are that it would just give archers a new role in being light collateral units that are more flexible but riskier than siege units, but do not need to be sacrificed like fireballs.

    This change may make berserkers even less useful, though. Since I'm planning these changes for my ModMod and it includes EitB changes, Berserkers get a much better collateral (60% instead of 20% and can hit 6 units instead of 4) that cannot be matched by archers. I guess that I could place the "archery only" restriction of the collateral promotions only on the first one, reduce Berserker collateral slightly and give them the first collateral promotion. That would give them additional promotion flexibility.

    The metal code is hardcoded in the DLL, and it is resource/xml tag based. The wall defender bonus would need extensive additions and, since the "promotion on resource" code is not really very extensible, it would also need to be reworked.

    It would require many code checks, and I also think that such micromanaging would feel tiresome for the player.
     
  11. sunbeam

    sunbeam Warlord

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    How does that help Berserkers though? To me the central problem is that they have to engage in combat, win, and then survive any possible counterattack before that collateral damage means anything. (Assassins are the bane of many an attacking stack I've had).

    I mean are you going to go to all the trouble of making a national unit (what can Berserkers be promoted from anyway? Can I do it from a horseman?) and walk it somewhere so it can die attacking a city? The few times I've ever used them, something always happens when they attack an archer. I could soften them up with collateral damage first, but if I can do that why am I bothering with this berserker? You could use shadow mana extensively or something, but usually by that point heavily promoted horse archers and catapaults do whatever a Berserker is supposed to do better. Let alone Knights.

    I don't really use Phalanxes much either. If you are playing against the ai, really the key to taking cities is dealing with archers in the endgame. I've gotten a lot more mileage using cav units than I ever have any other kind of unit in this game.

    Which makes me wonder if I'm playing this right. I mean you posted this about warriors and bronze. Usually I defend cities with archers (and eventually Longbowmen or Crossbowmen). All my other troops are usually mages, priests, rangers, horse archers, chariots, and knights.

    I could be doing things in a very ineffective way, I mean I only play against the ai. But I've just found the melee line to be kind of useless. Quite often I never bother making axemen or the like. The Doviello and Clan are about the only civs I bother making huge stacks of axemen, and that only because of the warrens and Mahala's upgrade abilities.

    Every other civ I usually wind up horse based.
     
  12. Apeiron

    Apeiron Warlord

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    Bannors ?
     
  13. sunbeam

    sunbeam Warlord

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    Even them. It depends on the mod you play (I use Magister's, but I never bother with Crusade unless I play Capria.) Crusade is kind of ... overrated? I don't know the best word to use for this. I mean you get a bunch of units spread out all over the place. You have to gather them together into a stack to do any city taking. I just don't bother with it. When I go to war, I want cities and one side out of the game. I really have no interest in screwing around with a bunch of units spread all over the place (the ones from hamlets and whatnot).

    In Magister's mod, the Bannor get fire mana. Usually I go with fireball mages, priests and the various horse units.

    Like I said maybe I'm not playing it right, and it's been a while since I played the base, even Tholal's mod.

    But in my experience hit anything with a big enough stack of mounted units and it goes down, Meshabber, Sphener, etc. I've found the early heroes to be much more useful than the later ones. The early ones just come at a point where their abilities make a lot more difference. Plus by the time you get something like Sphener the early heroes are usually ready to free Brigit.

    His mod is a little different since I'm not sure you can take down Eurabates or Auric without a little luck (units in just the right place when Eurabates spawns) or get the Nether Blade or God Slaying blade.
     
  14. Terkhen

    Terkhen King

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    Phalanxes and Berserkers are promoted from Champions. Since they are melee, they have access to promotions that cannot be chosen by horse units or siege units such as City Raider. Being melee, they can also use metals. With EitB changes, an unpromoted Berserker bearing iron weapons already delivers nearly the same collateral damage than a cannon. Since melee units are easy to promote (specially if you keep your first warriors through all the game while choosing their promotion in advance) a highly promoted Champion upgraded to Berserker can deliver a lot of collateral damage on its own. A Berserker without promotions is probably worse than a bunch of cheap siege units that you can sacrify without thinking much about it.

    In my own games, unless I'm forced to resort to archery because I have no metal, I usually end up using melee units both for defense and offense. With mithril, buff spells and enough Combat and City Raider promotions, Phalanxes and Berserkers usually have a high rate of success when attacking cities even before reducing the city defense.

    Having said that, in my experience researching multiple combat unit tech lines in FFH is rarely worth the effort. If you are following the cavalry line, researching melee too gives little benefit and viceversa. It is usually better to choose a specific combat unit tech line and compensate its weak points by choosing specific arcane spells or disciple unit lines.
     
  15. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Emperor

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    Melee line has a few other benefits as well (decent workshops, shipyards in EitB, chariot for fast moving, metal for a lot of units etc.) that aren't present in some of the other lines.
    I rarely find cavalry worthwhile, once the longbows start appearing what matters most is collateral and strength, which can be mithril champions/chariots and cats, mages and summons or whatever, the high withdraw of cavalry is rarely as useful.
    Archers need the boost, and I wonder if this could be a time to boost the drill line as well - make blur be % based?
     
  16. sunbeam

    sunbeam Warlord

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    It just works out differently for me. By the time longbowmen start appearing I usually have any one/more ways of dealing with them. If I beeline Warhorses I might have them by now, or will relatively soon.

    I use Magister's mod, and catapults can get extra move, that makes a big difference. In my experience, usually I have horse archers with a lot of promotions by then. I always go flanking 3, combat 1, then go anti-archer with my mounted units (sometimes I go mobility 1 if they need to go somewhere in a hurry). The melee units are just never the problem with taking something.

    I also make it a point to go back and promote every last unit I have with one move to a chariot or horse archer. If you don't have at least two move, you are a useless unit.

    That's just an opinion, based on the way I tend to play.
     
  17. LightofAbraxas

    LightofAbraxas Chieftain

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    FYI, I believe that iXPValueDefense specifies the amount of XP granted to the unit defeating the one associated with the XML you're tinkering with. So, changing this value from 4 to 8 will increase the rate at which units defeating archers on defense will gain XP rather than the archers themselves.
     
  18. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Emperor

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    Pretty much every unit can take mobility so I don't see your point.
    (Especially in going mounted if your only going to use two movement.)
     
  19. sunbeam

    sunbeam Warlord

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    Withdrawal.

    Usually I don't lose a unit taking a city unless they have casters or assassins in it. Say I have 20 or so horsearchers in a stack. I hit the city with one right after another till the city defenses are worn down. Then I just keep going. It's pretty rare to lose one with a 95% withdraw rate. It's nice to have catapults for collateral and defenses, but when you get to the point you have shadow mana and fireballs, it doesn't really matter anymore. (Plus when you can cast Shadowalk you can use their roads as if you had the commando promotion if a mage casts it. I don't think catapults benefit from that, but I can't remember offhand.)

    As to the rest, I make those one move units chariots and horesearchers for the movement increase. Often I have units I made before I got horseback riding and education, so later in the game I upgrade them so they can be useful.

    The first upgrade I give all units is mobility. It's certainly true healers and casters are limited to mobility 1, but what are you going to do? There's some stuff you can do with dimensional mana, but that is pretty far down the road.
     
  20. Kiech

    Kiech King

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    I also wonder about the wisdom of requiring a special building to make the base units. This means you have to choose between archers or axes in your production cities. Naturally, most players are going to pick the units that will help advance winning the most, like axes or horses.

    It might be a good idea to change the mechanics. Say reintroduce the barracks that allows all T1 units to be built. Then require an archery range/stable/yard for upgrades. Maybe give an experience bonus like BTS does to soften the blow.
     

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