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Late Game Naval Units

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by amateurgamer88, May 16, 2019.

  1. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Chieftain

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    In discussing Mine Fields as a building, I realized that there's a balance issue with late game naval units and combat. By late game, I'm talking about Atomic Era and maybe later. I say maybe because good feedback for Information Era is difficult to acquire. Note that the discussions here might not result in anything in upcoming patches since we are trying to go for gold for VP and the overhaul of late game navy might be too ambitious for that. However, I think it's a good idea to starting discussing because it takes time to flesh out ideas.

    First, we should look at the units. I believe that we need to figure out their strengths, weaknesses, roles in combat and their counters. Ideally, we have a diversity in our navy. However, there are certain issues as I'll state below.

    Battleship:
    Upgrades from:
    Cruiser
    Available at:
    Electronics
    Strengths:
    First ranged naval units with 2 :c5rangedstrength: Range and Indirect Fire. Both promotion lines are very useful and make Battleships quite threatening. In large enough numbers, they can take any coastal cities with relative ease. Requires Iron Resource.
    Weaknesses:
    Can be greatly weakened by the building, Mine Fields. Has no answer to air. Basically a glass cannon so attacks from any naval units with the capability to attack will hurt.
    Roles:
    1. Support: Provide necessary support fire to whittle down the health of enemy naval units to gain an upper hand.
    2. Naval Dominance: Devastate enemy navies and coastal cities in sufficient numbers if allowed to freely do what they excel at (attack from range and kept safe from enemy units).
    Counters:
    1. Air units. Bombers can force Battleships to withdraw and thus slowing or even halting the naval invasion.
    2. Submarines: These silent killers can be a rather big pain to deal with and, if going down Wolf Pack promotion, they can devastate Battleships.
    3. Destroyers: Don't let these melee ships get close or your Battleships will have a hard time. Kiting against Destroyers is possible but this will force your ships to return to friendly territory to heal up afterwards.
    4. Mine Fields: By forcing attacking ships to use more :c5moves: Movements, this building will slow down Battleships drastically and make it so they cannot attack and back out of the attack of enemy land ranged unit or city.
    5. Other Battleships: Given the relatively low defense of this unit, other Battleships can ruin the day of a Battleship.

    Carrier:
    Upgrades from:
    N/A
    Available at:
    Computers
    Strengths:
    Can bring air units to support naval invasion of distant continent. Can intercept.
    Weaknesses:
    Weak against any unit that can attack it. Not enough :c5moves: Movement to outrun anything. Can only pick only one of the following: carry more air units, defend itself better or air interception. Losing the Carrier also costs you all of your air units stationed on it. Useless if you have no air units. Require Oil Resource (depends on the game and map).
    Roles:
    1. Support: Allow air units support friendly navy despite being far from friendly cities.
    2. Naval Dominance: In sufficient numbers and adequate protection, can dominate the seas relatively easily and even make amphibious assaults much easier.
    Counters:
    1. Air units. Despite having interception, Carriers only have 1 per turn. If the enemy has air superiority, then it's easy for the enemy to force out all the interceptions so Bombers can sink Carriers.In addition, the air units on the Carriers are forced to attack or defend and not both.
    2. Submarines: These silent killers can be a rather big pain to deal with and, if going down Wolf Pack promotion, they can devastate Carriers that lack any escorts.
    3. Destroyers: Don't let these melee ships get close or your Carriers will be sunk.
    4. Battleships: Given the relatively low defense of this unit, Battleships will force Carriers to return to port sooner.

    Destroyer:
    Upgrades from:
    Ironclad
    Available at:
    Rocketry
    Strengths:
    Have two viable promotion lines. They can either be defensively focused with Dreadnought promotion line or offensively focused with the Boarding Party promotion line. Can detect Submarines. Can intercept air units (though never 100% even with promotions, need confirmation). Good positioning can really pay off. Require Coal resource (might be a weakness in some maps).
    Weaknesses:
    Expends all Movements after an attack. Can get kited to a certain degree. Bad positioning is extremely punishing. To excel in air interception, will have to give up on Dreadnought and Boarding Party promotion line.
    Roles:
    1. Meat Shield: Hold the front line while other units win the naval combat.
    2. Flanker: With Boarding Party promotion line, Destroyers can quickly dispatch enemy units if used properly.
    3. Defender: Since a Destroyer can attack while inside a city, Destroyers can help defend against enemy attacks if it gets to that point.
    Counters:
    1. Air units. Despite having interception, Destroyers only have 1 per turn. If the enemy has air superiority, then it's easy for the enemy to force out all the interceptions so Bombers can force back or sink Destroyers.
    2. Other Destroyers: Destroyers with the Boarding Party promotions will hit harder then Destroyers with Dreadnought promotions. Destroyers are not safer even with the extra health.
    3. Mine Fields: While affected to a lesser degree than ranged naval units, this building does affect the Destroyers with Boarding Party promotions. Movement is what makes them so dangerous so naval combat near cities aren't advised. Instead, you probably need Battleships to shoot from afar to keep your Destroyers alive.
    4. Battleships: If enemy Battleships are safe behind enemy Destroyers, then your Destroyers will feel the pain with all those ranged attack while unable to do anything.

    Submarine:
    Upgrades from:
    N/A
    Available at:
    Penicillin
    Strengths:
    Great for ambushes due to their concealment. Can actually hit pretty hard so a pack of them can be very dangerous to units that lack proper escorts.
    Weaknesses:
    Can be greatly weakened by the building, Mine Fields. Basically a glass cannon but more so than Battleships. Once concealment is gone, this unit is extremely vulnerable. 1 Range means they have to get close. Require Aluminum.
    Roles:
    1. Support: Provide necessary support fire to whittle down the health of enemy naval units to gain an upper hand.
    2. Ambush: Pick off enemy weak or wounded units along with embarked units.
    Counters:
    1. Submarines: These silent killers can be a rather big pain to deal with and, if going down Wolf Pack promotion, they can devastate Battleships.
    2. Destroyers: Don't let these melee ships get close or your Submarines are goners. The odds are heavily in favor of a Destroyer one shotting a Submarine.
    3. Mine Fields: By forcing attacking ships to use more :c5moves: Movements, this building will slow down Submarine drastically and make it so they cannot do a hit and run tactic. This makes it tougher to use them to attack embarked units as they won't have the necessary :c5moves: Movements to escape and an enemy Destroyer gets an easy kill.

    A few things to note here:
    -Mine Fields counters two naval units while one naval units to a lesser degree. That's a single building with quite a bit of influence on naval battles near the coast.
    -Submarines and Carriers have to be built from scratch since no units upgrade into them. The question is whether or not they are worth the investment if you already have a large navy composed of Destroyers and Battleships.
    -On the topic of investment, how do people feel about the Carrier? You need to build air units for them to be useful and it's quite a bit of time needed compared to upgrading your existing navy. Are their current stats good enough or a buff is needed? Submarine at least doesn't require other units built to be dangerous on the seas and their glass cannon situation seems fine.
    -There has been a large consensus that mass Battleship can easily decide games. This is what people use to justify why the Mine Field exists. Why don't we make it so that Battleships cost 2,3 or even 4 Irons instead of 1? Make it harder to mass them instead of implementing a building that hurts more than just this unit and helps the human players much more than the AI.

    Any other thoughts? Criticisms? Mistakes that I made above?
     
    vyyt likes this.
  2. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    The carrier and destroyer interception applies to an area around it, not just to itself. A group of destroyers provides a modest defense against someone with air superiority.

    If a unit has a ranged combat strength, then it will use that combat strength to defend against ranged attacks. Two battleships firing at each other therefore are attacking each other at equal combat strengths (promotions not withstanding).

    Submarines:
    In addition, once the submarine enters a destroyer's line of site, everything in the opposing military can attack it.

    Submarines are immediately countered by destroyers, which so it's hard to see a use for them when your opponent has cruisers that he is upgrading / already upgraded into destroyers. If you you have the tech advantage, you may be able to get a timing window, where they can attack with impunity. How many submarines are needed to destroy a lone destroyer?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  3. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    What are the incentives to move away from a purely destroyer/battleship navy? Are they currently enough?
     
  4. Bhawb

    Bhawb Chieftain

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    Honestly, just download VPENW and this discussion is solved IMO. I regularly head into end-game still warmongering and find myself building the latest tiers of units including the naval units after the ones in base VP. The existence of a tier beyond battleships/subs/destroyers/carriers allows these units to properly work into their specializations and my end-game navy is pretty diverse with 2 super carriers, a couple of carriers, quite a few nuclear subs, missile cruisers, and modern destroyers, and they tend to work together nicely. Plus, the increased strength helps prevent the issue of naval invasions being so difficult.

    If anything, I'd just roll that into base VP.
     
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  5. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Chieftain

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    On the diversity front, I don't often see a problem with subs/carriers being built from scratch. There is almost always unit cap room available that needs to be filled by producing new units either because your unit cap space has increased from buildings/wonders/population or from losing units. So even if you have a well established core of destroyers/battleships you can still add carriers/subs to the mix as cap space opens up.

    On whether it's useful to have subs/carriers, I'd say it depends on your goals and the composition of the enemy's forces. I think subs and carriers both have useful roles though.
     
  6. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Carriers are fine for naval invasions. If the enemy is far away you can’t get your planes there without carriers. And often I build carriers after getting my Air Force up, so I build one carrier and suddenly I’ve got 6 planes on it ready to go.

    Subs have niches, and they are reasonable enough. The game is just not complex enough to make the intricacies of sub combat strong enough. They serve as alpha strike units, and their invisibility can be useful if someone neglects destroyers. I think it’s niche enough, and the fact that all of them use different strategic resources ensures a niche.

    The problem is people see late game naval combat as “destroyer/battleship”. It’s not, it’s destroyer/battleship as your base with a sprinkling of subs and carriers, and then bombers, fighters, and later on missiles that the fleet carries. That’s enough diversity.
     
  7. vyyt

    vyyt Chieftain

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    I am glad to read that the new upgraded wolfpack promo makes subs stronger.

    Realism aside, I was toying with an idea that the can-see-sub promo could be changed to earnable with experience (same as the anti-air one) or couple it with the sight promo once destroyers become online (instead of being given to destroyers automatically).
     
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  8. HungryForFood

    HungryForFood Chieftain

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    Perhaps not having sub vision be linked to sight range is enough? Since naval vision can potentially get quite high. Maybe sub vision should stay at 2 or 3.
     
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  9. Bhawb

    Bhawb Chieftain

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    I do think destroyers can spot subs too easily, particularly for players who can "abuse" the stacking sight upgrades. You can get +2 from promotions, +1 Great Lighthouse, +1 the World Congress wonder, and they already get extra sight, so you end up needing like 2-3 destroyers per ocean to see everything, and then a small fleet can engage from ~10 spaces away which is part of why the AI is so terrible at invading players IMO.

    I think a Sonar promo would make sense, similar to how you can get an AA promo, maybe with a bit of added defense vs subs. I also think it would be fine if destroyers had say 2-3 tile vision for subs that could be expanded with some of their promos, but I'm not sure how doable that is. It would also make a bit more real-life sense for these things to exist.
     
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  10. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I don't like the idea of Sonar. If the AI doesn't promote its units correctly than the human will have a field day with their fleet. Or the smart human player will focus and snipe the Sonar destroyer...and then have a field day. Too many tactics that would benefit the human.

    The limited sight is more interesting. I think 3 is too small (this is Civ not subhunter), but a 5-6 range I think is reasonable.
     
  11. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    I think 3 would be fine, although before discussing the detection range separate from sight range, we should ask @Gazebo if it's feasible.
     
  12. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    There is a 'reconrange' element but it isn't handled 100% correctly, so no, actual visibility = detection range.

    G
     
  13. vyyt

    vyyt Chieftain

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    Sad to hear this, I would personally like this solution the most. @Stalker0 is right that the earnable sonar promo could be disadvantageous for AI.

    With the high-sight-range + high-speed of destroyers, the subs almost lose their stealthy ability. I think it is fine to some extent, but sight radius of 6 tiles seems a bit too much (regarding the sub detecting ability).

    We could lower the sight range slightly ... or relegate the detecting ability to the ranged ships, but I think it would be a bit counterintuitive (they are supposed to be the subs' prey, right?). Or increase the chance that AIs will choose the sub detecting promo somehow (be it a separate one or coupled with sight) more often. Or just accept that at certain point, the hunter becomes prey and call it a day.

    I think I will brush up my superior modding skills (- read: mad copy-pasting of other people's code) and try making the sonar promo earnable with experience just to see how it performs anyway.
     
  14. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    You can tinker with the ‘reconrange’ promotion element, see how it works for you. I’m just not sure how whoward implemented it and I’m reluctant to say it works or not.

    G
     
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  15. vyyt

    vyyt Chieftain

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    Ok, thanks. I am not familiar with "promo elements". Would you point me to where I can find it? I hope I do not have to edit the source of the DLL, I do not know how to compile it.
     
  16. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    No it’s just a promotion attribute.
     
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  17. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    And is it possible to have a chance to detection? Like 20% chance to get discovered if in sight?
     
  18. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    No
     
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  19. peace lover

    peace lover Chieftain

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    Recently updated to latest versions. I was very pleased with new melee promotion tree. It added needed spice into boring naval battles. Especially I like the specialization of units, e.g. Aircraft interception. The sonar promotion would be awesome to detect submarines. Also give Sonar promotion to Aircraft as well. Then you can have submarine detecting carriers.
     
  20. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    I think a Tier 1 promotion that destroyers can gain, unlocked at Penicillin would give the best result, then.

    Maybe Penicillin is too far away from Rocketry, and the unlock should be at Rocketry. Either way, this gives some time for submarines be extremely effective while destroyers are out: either because there is some time between researching Penicillin and Rocketry, or because upgrade Ironclads need to get promoted again before they gain the ability.

    In addition, by having to pay for the promotion, it introduces a choice on how many destroyers need to take the promotion, and gives an opponent the opportunity to choose to switch to submarines if the player is lacking in submarine detection.

    If we want to lean even harder into this, the same promotion could have the anti-sub combat strength bonus.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019

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