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Ljosalfar archerrush is waaay overpowered!

Discussion in 'Fall Further' started by Uncas, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Monkeyfinger

    Monkeyfinger Deity

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    After getting archery I believe they don't exploit that. They direct build archers. It's just that by the time they research archery, if they're anticipating a war, they have tons of warriors guarding their cities, which all morph into archers almost instantly.

    If they built warriors post-archery and instant upgraded them, their megastacks of archers would get huge amounts of reinforcement, but in my experience the reinforcements are reasonably slow.
     
  2. Iceciro

    Iceciro Special Ability: Decimate

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    I could get behind the idea of archer ranged attacks being lethal after "enough shots" in exchange for the 3/5 becoming 3/4 or something.

    A pack of five highly promoted achers shouldn't do up to a cap of damage to a hunter in the open, they should turn him into a very dead pincushion - even if it takes a few turns, I shouldn't need to either charge with my archer or fling some actual melee unit at it to get the job done.

    My suggestion: 3/3 archers, with ranged attacks that have the potential to kill, with Wall Defender giving one point of that strength back on the defensive, making them strictly at least as good as everybody else on the City Defense track, but with the ability to chuck arrows outside of settlements. Remember, Archers also have full access to the City Defense Line, and a 3/4 unit with CDIII is still a tough nut to crack.

    Perhaps make Palisades give a very low damage cap and walls give a very high one, to show that eventually people in cities will hide somewhere and not get pelted to death by arrows - that will prevent archer swarms from marauding around and destroying entire cities, since the archers inside should be able to freakin' kill the archers outside, but not vice versa, meaning that if you want to take a city, you'll need guys to actually charge in and handle some problems.
     
  3. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    for this, we're going to need the ranged damage resistance tags implemented. I've given xienwolf a bit of poking about it, but he's currently busy. Will hopefully be free later next week to do stuff he says.
     
  4. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    On that note, I'd actually prefer to make Archers the start of the promotion tree for that line (no Warrior -> Archer) than remove the AI's upgrade bonus completely (can still scale it down a lot for low difficulties).

    The reason there is that the AI doesn't manage it's gold on the basis that it knows it's about to get an "upgrade tech" and wants to mass upgrade like a player might. As it stands, the AI upgrades competitively - if the costs were hiked back to player-levels, it probably would lose that ability.

    Definitely a cheat and it would be nice if we could make it equally competitive without it - but at the moment I'll take "challenging AI" over "completely fair" for things like this.
     
  5. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    • I think that's by far the most important point.

      (A mini-rant on realism and game design.

      Spoiler :

      Pretty much every mechanic in Civ4 is rather abstract and could be made far more realistic. But every added detail is another detail the AI needs to know something about. And players, too. A simple and firm distinction between offensive and defensive units is too simple in a wargame, but may be just fine for a more abstract "strategy" game like Civ. There's a lot to do in Civ - how much fiddling around with stack composition do we really want? If nothing else it could draw attention/resources away from areas that might be more pressing. Magic or general AI work, say.

      I'm not saying that realism isn't generally a good idea, but realism-for-it's-own-sake can easily be a bad idea.

      Especially if any extra clicking is involved. This isn't where we are anytime soon, but it's something to keep in mind: It'd be rather easy to make a highly-detailed combat system with lots of ranged attacks, formation or fortification options, ammo types, modifiers etc. etc. that - after much option-selection, clicking, and stack arrangement, and taking into account opponent responses - gives results little different from the 3/5 Archer + defensive strikes, 90% of the time.

      Added detail doesn't always make for "interesting decisions." (Just ask any staff worker.) Especially if there's nothing wrong with the more-abstract system, so far as gameplay goes.

      I think I'm sensitive to this, btw, because I'm something of an "old school wargamer." The ones with lots of little cardboard counters with NATO symbols. Civ4, even with DCM, is still a long, long way from something I'd call "realistic." It's not like a few tweaks is going to turn Civ from a highly abstract game to a realistic game. Given that, we should appreciate the up-side to the abstraction. The big (and maybe only) upside being we can hit the "Next Turn" button 20x faster than we might otherwise.
      )

      As long as the AI knows to keep the archers fighting in cities it should be OK, but we should be cautious about a general swing in the offensive/defensive balance in favor of offensive. It'd be an anti-rubber band mechanic.
     
  6. Castar

    Castar Warlord

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    Very true, and I thought about this too when considering my own ideas. This is something you need to be careful about whenever you add anything new. However, the current problem I personally have with the ranged combat mechanic, is that I hardly ever use it and very rarely care if it is used against me. I don't want to add something new (for archers, that is), I want to make what is there a useful strategy, instead of just a gimmicky tactic. For siege weapons, I actually propose a simplification. Mages get something added (an existing mechanic), but they get what everyone expects when thinking "mage": ranged + utility power, but you do not want to send them to the front unprotected, let alone have them enter actual combat.

    The realism was what triggered the idea, but the changes have been considered with gameplay in mind. Yes, they might mean you need to consider the composition of your armies more carefully, but tbh I'd rather spent my time on that, than on building 3*X Axemen, where X is the number of archers the defending city has, marching them to said city, putting right click on turbo and waiting 'till it's over...
     
  7. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    That's pretty much it exactly :D

    Offense tends to be carried out by the stronger player - the expectation is that you need more offense than the opponent has defense in order to be successful. In the pre-archer-everywhere days, the human player could carry out rapid offense and rely upon winning with relatively little advantage in terms of numbers or quality. With high-defense archers more common now, the emphasis has swung the other way.

    Archers on defense against no enemy have a cost - namely that they cost maintenance for no direct reward. Armies on the offense have a similar cost (often greater) but do have the potential to reap massive direct rewards if successful. That balances out nicely in itself.

    ===

    The question therefore becomes "is defense too easy?" In some cases with archers it does seem to be (with goblin forts being the obvious example - capable of holding off several axemen alone). With the ability to weaken an enemy before they attack, then perform first strikes to further weaken the foe before they are allowed to cause damage during the attack, I'm no longer convinced they need Strength 5. That being said - they need to be comparable in strength (within their role) to Axemen, so Strength 4 seems fair.

    In effect - they're Strength 4 units with a -1 to offense strength, with Longbows being comparable to a Strength 6 Champion, with a -1 to offense strength...

    ===

    Elven archers (which is the topic of the thread) however are still going to be pretty powerful. One of the changes in the next patch is that Archers do not receive defensive bonuses for Features (forest, jungle) and their ranged attack is actually reduced if they are in such a terrain. That penalty is negated by Elven and Woodsman.
     
  8. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    I can see where you're going with this argument. But I'd say that the ranged attack mechanic doesn't quite fall there. It is more detail, certainly. But I think it changes the outcome of things in much better ways than the defense/first strikes archer used to.

    Being able to damage things, without sacrificing the unit, is, I feel, a breakthrough ability. It makes ranged support far more useful, not just in pure power, but also utility, and I would say, fun.

    I'm certainly not a fan of extra clicking either. Perhaps, as a thought, it'd be nice if any archers which are fortified, would automatically do a ranged attack at the end of your turn, if they're capable of doing so (ie, you didn't make them do one already). Would cut down on micromanagement, and allow you to just stick an archer somewhere and not think about it, if you really want to. But if you do want to get more involved, the option would be there to choose which stack to attack, or to do things like moving out along a road, striking, and running back to the city. Or to bring a few archers along when you go to fight some massive beast/dragon/whatever.
     
  9. Castar

    Castar Warlord

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    A great idea, which would be useful regardless of any changes to archers, but I can see this slowing down the game quite a bit considering the AI usually has heaps of fortified archers, which would all have to be looped over, checked if there is an enemy in range of it's ranged attack (8 squares to check, minimum) and finally, perhaps, process the execution of the ranged attack upon said unit. And what if there is more than one square occupied by hostile forces? The gamer in me says: "yes please!", the coder in me sees a huge can of worms (but again, I know nothing of the way Civ handles events, so it might not be an issue).

    Hmmm, now that I think of it, checking the 8 squares around each city once for enemies, and if present, have any and all archers in the city fire upon said enemy would be a much better way of handling things...

    I digress. University + informatics + exams makes me see code problems EVERYWHERE :crazyeye:
     
  10. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    I'm pretty certain it wouldn't slow AI turns down at all, since AI archers ARE ALREADY DOING THIS :crazyeye:

    Why do you think they fire on you when you approach a city? I'm pretty sure there isn't someone operating them over the internet.

    It would merely be a convenience for the human player, nothing more.
     
  11. Castar

    Castar Warlord

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    You certainly have a way to make someone feel STUPENDOUSLY ******** :crazyeye:

    Thanks for pointing that out lol.
     
  12. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    IMO the current ranged attacks are a lot of fun and very much worthwhile.

    What I'm cautioning against is further changes with even wider ranging balance/AI implications. The -1 to defensive strength is a "tweak" IMO. Not at all a bad idea given the other FF changes. But for -2 strength + even stronger or lethal ranged attacks we need to look beyond realism value. I'd characterize it as going from adding an interesting supplemental ability to completely re-purposing the unit with a wholly new mechanic. More realistic/more lethal ranged attacks might be more fun, but they also might be even harder for the AI to handle. We've probably captured most of the "fun" of ranged attacks with the current set up, so we'd be risking a lot for what might be very little return.

    I'm not saying "We shouldn't do this." But I think pushing the mechanic further is a much bigger step than the initial introduction, and deserves a lot more consideration of the pros and cons.
     
  13. Castar

    Castar Warlord

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    I'd say you are correct there. However, as I've said in my first post, the AI already seems to use archers as if they had this new purpose (defend cities, in the field only use ranged attacks). The massive stacks of archers are not doing them much good during war-time (at best they delay the inevitable) as it is. AI is always a concern, and it will never be good enough. But unless you add something completely new which the AI can't use without extensive new AI-coding, I believe "AI" should not be an argument against proposed changes/improvements. Should any of the improvements be implemented, it would mean that the AI will use Archers and ranged attacks below their full potential. They are using Archers and ranged attacks below their full potential as it is, so the AI will not be worse off. And "using below their full potential" is still better than a lot of the mechanics in FF which are already there. AI and balance will always be a problem, but it has little to do with the issue at hand, IMHO.

    Quite so. As I said this might need its own thread...
     
  14. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    What I'm concerned about is going from "defense too strong" to "defense too weak." Because (assuming this is done for the next release) we'd be doing 2 things at once (terrain bonus, -1 strength), and messing with units generally fundamental to defense, I think going too far is a real danger. I do think we should do it. But I also think we should watch how the AI deploys archers, and look for signs a new offensive tilt.

    EDIT: I think the significant change is that there won't be a good-terrain bonus/high def. unit anymore. There's lots of defensive options, but not one nearly as simple as dropping an Archer-line unit on a tile.

    The "magnitude theorem" says that a sufficiently large quantitative change may be a qualitative change. (Ex: A rail system isn't "Just like walking faster and being able to carry more stuff.") Lowering archer-line defenses by 2 and making ranged attacks lethal isn't, in a sense, doing anything "completely new." As long as the magnitude theorem doesn't come into play.

    Should we call that the "anti-magnitude theorem"? You're assuming "below potential" under two different systems will have the same value. I doubt it. Further changes in the same direction in an already sub-optimal system are very likely to make things worse. At some point "worse" becomes "not good enough."

    EDIT:
    I saw that after I posted. So with regard to what I've said above I'm merely being "argumentative," not "obnoxiously argumentative." :)
     
  15. Breez

    Breez King

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    No Change for Hill Defense?

    So for Non-Elven Archers, Woodsman will effectively be +30% Forrest Attack and +55% Forrest Defense? Or are you only talking about Woodsman eliminating the Ranged attack Penalty?

    I will be honest I balked at this when I first read it. However if Woodsman negates the change I am okay with that.

    I know I read in FfH at one point they were going to have the Terrain's Defensive % reduce damage from spells by (I think) 25% of the Defensive bonus. Thus units in a 110% defense bonus city had damage from spells, including explosion damage from Pyro Zombies, reduced by 27.5%. Did that ever make it to FF? I ask because would you consider doing something similar to Damage from Ranged attacks?

    I just feel if your unit is in a Forrest and I am firing into it, you should have reduced damage compared to if you were standing on plains. Granted I am only talking about a 5% reduction in this case but it seems logical. Unless you got a city with 400% defensive bonus you would never get no damage from a ranged attack at all.
     
  16. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    Archers in Forest/Jungle/Ancient Forest will automatically recieve the Obscured Line of Sight promotion, which gives -25% defense (exactly matching these features), -1 first strike, and a little less ranged attack strength

    Units with either elven promotion, or either level of Woodsman, simply don't recieve this penalty. Fellowship Warden currently doesn't affect it. I wonder if it should.
     
  17. Breez

    Breez King

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    That isn't too bad for me then.
     
  18. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    Actually, I'm going to add a few more exceptions. Flying, and Giantkin, won't be affected by it either. Since both of those would be above the trees.

    I don't know of any flying or giant Archery units, but there may be some in future if there aren't now. Giant tree/rock hurlers would be neat
     
  19. Breez

    Breez King

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    FF+ is doing Giant Slingers as siege units I believe.
     
  20. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    Well, technically archery unitclass, but down the siege tech line.
     

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