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I'm still not convinced about Cruisers

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Gidoza, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Gidoza

    Gidoza King

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    So this post straight-forwardly has to do with the fact that Cruisers have an attack range of 2. My main point is: this is unnecessary.

    Frigates are pretty awesome at taking coastal cities by swooping in in large numbers and swooping out after they take their shot. Because they can move after attacking, with proper positioning a coastal city with only 1 shore tile is basically just as vulnerable as a city with 4 shore tiles. Enemy cities fall quickly regardless of which promotion tree is taken; moreover in Sea battles themselves, it's not obvious that the AI knows how to capitalize on or handle a meat shield of melee ships protecting a horde of ranged ones. And that's just Frigate commentary.

    Come Cruisers, the elements multiply seemingly exponentially in Cruisers' favour to make them own even more badly.

    1. An additional range ensures that in Sea battles, Cruisers can always stay behind the meat shield no matter what. The power behind the "boarded" perk simply fades away because of this.

    2. An indiscriminate slaughter of in-land units that otherwise would make coastal invasion potentially unfeasible, but moreover, makes bringing land units along almost completely unnecessary. (I'll bring one Gatling Gun to out in the city, and the Cruisers can handle basically everything else - if using Frigates, you *need* land support to hold it.)

    3. Setting aside the fact that city damage doesn't inflict nearly enough harm on Cruisers to matter either individually or on a fleet scale, Cruisers have enough movement (*especially* with Sea movement bonuses of various kinds, that a human player can easily exploit) to move in, shoot, and avoid even an *Arsenal* in it's entirety, taking no damage at all and engaging the city with impunity.


    The only mitigating factor to any of this is a Mine Field - but it comes late relative to when Cruisers arrive on the scene, and I haven't noticed an AI build one yet anyways. Even so, the worst this would even cause against a Cruiser fleet would be to ensure that Cruisers stay in range of the city to receive the city's sub-par damage, which isn't a meaningful improvement.


    I do realize that this is the era of the Artillery, but the AI scarcely knows how to populate the coast with these, not that I think it would change much anyways, as you'd need a perfect combination of a Mine Field and lots of Artillery to be able to down Cruisers in any meaningful number, bearing in mind that the Cruisers are always going to have the first shot.



    Suffice it to say: I want to straight-forwardly suggest that Cruisers be reduced to 1 Range (with no possibility of a Range promotion). It is beyond unnecessary and they are plenty good without the promotion.

    Come Battleships, when long-ranged Artillery, Arsenals, and Mine Fields are common, I'd suggest that the Ranged promotion be something that is available (from both sides of the promotion tree), but still no starting range of 2. That way the standard will be there, but it both needs to be earned and comes with a 20% penalty - and it would still be plenty strong.

    Missile Cruisers can also start with the standard range of 1, but get the Range promotion as a starter.
     
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  2. vyyt

    vyyt Emperor

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    I agree 100%
     
  3. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 King

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    From my experience, Cruisers do provide you the largest spike in military than any other unit. Its extra range just makes it absolutely deadly and have little counters for those without Cruisers. I can handle Knights if I'm in late Classical but I have no answer to Cruisers unless terrain is completely in my favor or I have my own Cruisers. Even Ironclads can easily be wrecked by Cruisers given how well Cruisers can kite with that extra range. The current AI actually does a good job ending a Cruiser's turn outside the city bombardment (unless you have an Arsenal) so it can be problematic. The only solution on land is Artillery (if you have sufficient promotions) or planes but both of those come an era later.
     
  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    An interesting debate.

    I will start with...regardless of what is done with the cruiser, I don’t think the battleship should be changed. There are a wide array of longer range options at that point, letting the battleship stay at 2 is perfectly fine, and maintains its usefulness in the face of other options.

    As far as the cruiser, there is no question it’s a strong unit, the “definitive unit” of its time, similar to the knight for its time.

    Is it “overpowered”? It don’t know...I always build them when I can...but it’s not like I can’t counter them with Ironclads when I need to. But they are a very powerful force.

    I’m curious about other people’s reactions. I’m open to the idea but not convinced
     
  5. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I agree with @Stalker0. I have no problem with the range of Cruisers being reduced, but battleships are fairly squishy for their price, and there are an absurd number of answers to them that late in the game. If you don't have an effective air defense, subs and destroyers can handle battleships very well.

    The issue also is that subs are common by the time Battleships come out. Subs are range 1 naval attackers, so being a land bombardment unit is the battleship's main niche. If they aren't able to close with land artillery and are relegated to escorting aircraft carriers then they are redundant with subs.
    What you have proposed here is pointless. It's how it used to work, but the only difference is that having a range of 2 on the base unit and no range promotion makes the UI more clear, instead of ferreting away the unit's actual capabilities in the promotion ribbon.

    You simply can't have +1 range magically appear in the promotion tree for some units and not others. You would have to code a separate unitclass for battleships and missile cruisers if you wanted to do that. It's not impossible, but it causes a host of knock-on effects for compatibility and the like. It's a major headache. Don't.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  6. Omen of Peace

    Omen of Peace Warlord

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    I have taken Mine Fielded cities and it was quite painful.
    In essence, I agree that Cruisers magnify the human player advantage vs the AI, but I don't mind it as much as you do.
    Conversely, I've felt the pain when I had very little iron and had to face even just medium fleets. And you need iron for Mine fields too, so it's not a great counter.

    Side note: they can't bombard inland when troops are hidden behind hills (whereas siege of that era has indirect fire).

    I definitely agree with Stalker that Battleships shouldn't be changed. Air superiority matters more at that point anyway.
     
  7. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    The general consensus was to not settle on the coast if you are not going to protect it with a fleet. Or if you do, settle all your cities in the same sea, so one fleet is enough for defense.

    If I had to wait for battlecruisers to start conquering another continent, that would be rather annoying. The time for cruisers is just right.
     
  8. vyyt

    vyyt Emperor

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    Correction: I 100% agree with the cruiser part. I want to keep battleships at range 2.
     
  9. Rekk

    Rekk King

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    I'm pretty Missile Cruisers are upgraded Destroyers, not Battleships.
     
  10. Gothic_Empire

    Gothic_Empire AKA, Ramen Empire

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    Cruisers have range 2?
    Is this the unit that Ships-of-the-Line upgrade into? Because I could have sworn they were range one on my last England playthrough. x__x
     
  11. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    The first ranged ship that requires iron has range 2.
     
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  12. Gidoza

    Gidoza King

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    Hi!

    I appreciate the feedback about Battleships. I retract my statements about them as you all make good points there. :)
     
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  13. phantomaxl1207

    phantomaxl1207 King

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    If Ironclads aren't enough to deal with Cruisers, than we should change some #'s around. I feel Ironclads are strong enough in :c5strength: to take on Cruisers.

    Though I wonder if having to balance Coal with Factories, Seaports, and Train Stations can make fielding enough Ironclads an issue; meanwhile, Cruisers only have to share their Iron with Field Guns.
     
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  14. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 King

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    From my experience, taking out Cruisers with Ironclads isn't easy. You have to get through the enemy Ironclads first before you get to the Cruisers since it's not hard to move Cruisers after attacking before your Ironclads. For me, the tactic is simple where I get enough Ironclads to stop enemy Ironclads in their tracks with ZoC (or just have the enemy attack them instead) and just use my Cruisers' significant firepower to wreck any enemy unit (Dreadnought promotion line only helps so much). Unlike land units like Skirmishers, Cruisers only uses a single movement on Ocean/Coast tiles (except for Great Barrier Reef tiles) so they can get around much easily.

    Here are a few ways I can think of that may help fix the situation.
    -You increase the :c5strength: CS of Ironclads when attacking enemy units so an exposed Cruiser is going to have a very bad day.
    -Give Ironclads more protection against Cruisers (but not cities) so Cruisers have to work harder to kill Ironclads
    -Give Ironclads more :c5moves: Movements so they can outflank enemy much easier
    -Have a combination of the ideas above while achieving balance
     
  15. Gidoza

    Gidoza King

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    My fleet earlier contained a couple dozen Cruisers, a dozen or so Corvettes, and about three Ironclads. Ironclads are either unbuildable because of Coal requirements or otherwise aren't worth building because the production bonuses from the appropriate buildings will provide more than an Ironclad ever could.

    However when it comes to plain ratio, the stats of Ironclads with respect to Cruisers is not much different than Corvettes VS Frigates, Triremes VS Dromons, etc...there's just no justification for Cruisers to have two range in such a situation. (It could work if the Cruisers kept two range but couldn't move after attacking, while Ironclads gained the ability to do so)

    EDIT: Another point against Ironclads is that the movement of ships increases as these new ships come about. Cruisers are faster than Dromons. This means that it's both easier for a Cruiser to find refuge and also that the potency of Boarding (a melee ship way of dealing with ranged ships) is largely reduced.

    Moreover, we haven't even considered how open ocean matters in all this. Caravels have a great advantage over Galleons, while ocean tiles greatly inhibit Dromon stacking attacks and can often force them into a funnel where it's easy for a Trireme to eat them. Cruisers aren't inhibited by any such thing (nor are Frigates), yet the Combat Strength ratios are pretty much the same. I don't think that this makes much sense from a balance perspective.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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  16. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I would consider giving ironclads a bonus to defending against ranged attacks. That's a very historically accurate bonus. You could do that by either giving them the standard cover promotion, or creating a special "Ironclad" promotion that is lost on upgrade.

    Ironclads, in the time they came out, were almost impervious to cannon fire. They were so hard to deal with that ramming them was sometimes the only way to kill an ironclad. Many of them also sported sloped armour and low profiles, making them almost impossible to get a direct hit on. Even if you were going to try hitting one with cannons, you had to get in close so you could point your cannons down at the ironclad, so as to hit them with plunging fire.

    Ironclads became obsolete only after guns got big enough, and ballistics got advanced enough that ships were engaging at distances where the arcs were wide enough that EVERY shot was plunging fire.
     
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  17. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    For the record, to me that is the system working as intended. Melee ships screening for Ranged Units is an optimal configuration.

    Now if a group of ironclads can't beat a group of cruisers, then we have a problem.
     
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  18. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 King

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    While I agree that melee ships should screen for ranged ships, the issue is that Cruisers are, for me at least, at a clear advantage over the Ironclad.

    First, Cruisers, as people stated here, uses Iron while Ironclads uses Coal. The resource availability for naval units alone can dictate a difference in ratio of how many Cruisers and how many Ironclads can be fielded. If you take that ratio into account, Cruisers will have a much easier time against Ironclads because quantity and kiting give them a solid edge.

    Secondly, I have an issue with the movements between the two ships. Ironclads have 1 more :c5moves: Movement than the Cruiser which isn't much if the Cruiser range is 2. If your Ironclad went Dreadnought promotions, then it will eventually kill a single enemy Cruiser but how far will it have to go to accomplish this? An out of position Ironclad is often a dead Ironclad. Now, how about a Boarding promotion Ironclad? It can slow down the Cruiser but it also has less survivability. From my games, the Ironclads with Boarding promotions get sunk so much quicker than their Dreadnought counterpart. In both situations, I feel the Cruisers might lose the battle but win the war by clearing the screens of your enemy for what can easily be a 1 for 1 tradeoff.

    Thirdly, Cruisers absolutely dominate coastal battles. Except for situations where indirect fire is needed, a Cruiser can easily clear out all defending land units in the vicinity of a city. Cruiser can wreck melee naval ships with a bit of help from screens, wreck ranged naval ships if superior in numbers, whittle city health down until it can be taken by a single Ironclad and destroy enemy land army to the point where they cannot retake the city. What's the purpose of Ironclads? As a screen? Take a city once it's low enough? Hunt down a lone Cruiser? In my opinion, the Cruiser can do too much while Ironclad seems pathetic in comparison. Maybe I missed another use of the Ironclad?
     
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  19. HungryForFood

    HungryForFood Prince

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    I abuse navy a lot in my games, so I can give my thoughts.
    1. Why does the naval melee class require coal in the late game? I know it was added somewhat recently, but I forgot why. Personally I always remove that, so you can defend yourself in the ocean if you're unlucky with resources. At the same time, I always feel that I want as many naval ranges as I can field, while having just enough naval melee to screen.
    2. Why can naval range move after attacking, but naval melee can't? If I recall, naval range was allowed to move after attack due to Logistics giving you that ability later anyway, and as that requires a specific high level promotion, it favours the human. However, since naval melee gets Blitz now, doesn't the same argument apply? Currently, I am very reluctant to attack with naval melee, until I get Blitz. At the same time, thematically naval melee class is meant to represent smaller more agile ships, so it feels odd they can't move after attack but naval range can.
    3. While I do think Cruisers are strong, I feel that the issue now is that Ironclads are too lackluster. As mentioned, the Ironclad's 1 more movement is not enough to compensate for the Cruiser's 2 range. I think more movement or free Cover I for the late game melee class is necessary.
     
  20. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I also play heavy navy games literally every time, with either Carthage, the Netherlands or England. I build up sooner with Carthage due to the UU, but don't neglect my fleets with the other two, if only because I want to rack up promotions for when the Dutch and English start kicking ass. I dominate militarily every game, using tactics that are now second nature. I'd say that:
    • triremes and dromons are roughly equal, because you need enough triremes to protect the dromons. They work very well together. I can take cities until they have 25 HPs, after which there's too much attrition for my taste. With Carthage my ratio is 2:1. With the other two, it's 1:1.
    • caravels are the single biggest power upgrade in the water. The deep water advantage combines with the huge CS uptick to make galleys an endangered species against a decent admiral. What I can't do very well is take cities, because the galleys don't hold up their end. If you want to downgrade a vessel, it's the caravel. And at this point, I bump my ratio to 2:1 for all three civs.
    • with navigation, range finally becomes a factor again. Taking cities becomes the easiest it's been since the invention of walls. I value frigates higher because they can shoot and retreat, and bring my ratio back to 1:1.
    • cruisers have the edge on ironclads because the extra range makes them even more impervious to damage than frigates. But I don't have a hard time sinking them with cruisers + ironclads, and I don't have a strikingly easier time taking cities, either. Or to put it differently, it's no easier than with destroyers and battleships. Still, cruisers trump ironclads, so I start shading my ratio in the direction of 1:2.
    • finally along come destroyers and battleships. They're more balanced, but not enough for me to alter my ratio. By now I want that extra range, and have enough blockers/city invaders. I keep pushing toward 1:2.
    • I've ignored range hitting land units throughout. Every ranged unit is helpful here, none of them are decisive, and I don't experience a noticeable boost with any individual upgrade. About the only factor worth considering is that artillery makes more of a difference. You pay more of a price attacking if you stay within their range, but that's just poor play, in my opinion. At this point, enough of your fleet should have extra movement, which often approximates extra range.
    In conclusion, I think the discrepancy between caravels and galleys is much worse than the one between cruisers and ironclads. Like Stalker0, I don't have any problem with some units being relatively more dominant in an era. But if I were going to flatten those spikes, I would boost galleys and give ironclads a better response vs cruisers. And the shallow-water galley's boost would be bigger than the ironclad's.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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