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Militia

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Thalassicus, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    This thread is somewhat obsolete now, with the discussion continued more comprehensively in the Combat Roles thread.







    ==========================================


    You might be curious why I added the Militia to the game, so I'll explain the reasoning here. :)

    Long-time followers of this mod know how reluctant I am to add completely new stuff to the game. I prefer to figure out ways to improve existing units and buildings when possible. I only add new things when I feel it's absolutely necessary, and so far I've added:

    • Aqueduct
    • Circus Maximus
    • National Treasury
    • Ship of the Line
    • Militia
    The first three were confirmed and added to the core game, and I'm confident the last two are equally important for Civilization. The Ship of the Line is straightforward by adding depth to Renaissance era naval warfare, creating a destroyer/battleship like pairing with the Frigate/Ship of the Line. The reasons for the Militia are detailed below.


    The Unit

    Militia are footsoldiers of the early Medieval era. Their cost, movement, and strength are identical to pikemen:
    • 100:c5production: cost
    • 10:c5strength: strength
    • 2:c5moves: movement
    • 1:c5gold: maintenance (pikes are 3)
    • Uses no resources
    • Support class (pikes are melee)
    • Available with Metal Casting.
    • Upgrade path: Scouts → Militia → Musketmen.



    Role


    The primary purpose of militia is for every era to have an inexpensive detection unit for cannon fodder, with no specific "vs bonuses." There are several reasons for this I will detail in this post.

    Militia replace Pikemen in this role for the Medieval era. Pikemen retain their important role of countering mounted units, so the roles of footsoldier and vs-mounted are now different units. The reason Militia make great footsoldiers is they're cheaper than other units of their era, with faster movement and decent healing. Inexpensive units like Militia are also useful as city garrisons. They can spot threats like barbarians at a greater range and move quickly to intercept.

    An important reason to reduce Pikeman spam is to make Knights more viable. I've commonly seen opinions Longswords outweigh Knights in importance in vanilla Civ. There's many reasons for this, one of which are the dedicated hard counter units. Knights will hopefully be more useful when facing opponents with 2-3 pikemen instead of a sea of pikes.

    Militia have no attack bonuses or offensive promotions available. This means it’s necessary for a conqueror to compliment militia with units good on the attack, which isn't as important for Pikemen, because Pikes have access to Siege and up to +60%:c5strength: of terrain attack strength. Shifting the emphasis from Pikes to Militia encourages combined arms with a mix of archers, swords, horses, siege, militia as cannon fodder, and pikes to counter horse units.

    Another problem in vanilla is Scouts and Musketmen are generally considered underwhelming. Part of the reason is Scouts have nothing to upgrade to, and Muskets upgrade from nothing. The upgrade path of Militia fills this void. Since all promotions on Militia are defensive, the impact when upgraded to Muskets is restrained. We don't have any attack bonuses for a conquering spree. However, it does make leaders with unique units based on Muskets more interesting.


    Historical Background

    The most common infantry throughout the early medieval period were subsistence farmers obliged to fight for the local lord in the feudal system. Militia forces were often organized by guilds or districts with officers and banners. In many European countries serfs were required to perform around 45 days of military service per year without pay, typically during a time when they were not needed for agriculture.

    Militia usually had no armor and fought with basic equipment like axes, spears, and shields. In some circumstances they brought and maintained their own equipment, while at other times they were outfitted by the lord or king they fought for. Militia were poorly equipped, but the lower skill and resource requirements also make militia easier to replace than the aristocratic Knights. This is represented by the militia healing bonuses available through promotions.

    Click here to read more about infantry in Medieval Europe, if you're interested. Most of popular culture focuses on knights and castles, but infantry played a big role too.
     
  2. Questdog

    Questdog Chieftain

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    No complaints from me; seems like a reasonable idea.

    One thing, though about scouts: I never build them anymore, but not because upgrade or promotion issues. The reason I quit building them is because they never live long enough to explore anything with all the Barbs running around. If there was something you could do to them to make them less fragile, they would be a useful unit in the early game, regardless of upgrades. As it is now, I feel that if I want to explore, I have to send out a pair of warriors to work together to stay alive.....

    edit: maybe extra sight or the running away ability.
     
  3. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    The difficulties with barbarians should be mitigated in the next version. I delayed the turn when barbarians start attacking, to give us some breathing room.

    I want to thank Txurce for suggesting the "Militia" name for this unit. Once I started historical research about medieval militias everything just fell into place. :)
     
  4. Dunkah

    Dunkah Chieftain

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    Bravo... a welcome and needed addition.
     
  5. Txurce

    Txurce Chieftain

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    I like the historical underpinnings of this move, and the connecting of the upgrade branches.

    Your original concept had been that the resourceless units - in this case, pikemen - would form the basis of an army, with resource units being the elite. This was already working well. It seems that you have made this change in order to increase the fun factor for the human player, by reducing pike spam and therefore increasing the use of mounted units. I don't know how necessary that was, because if anything there's been siege-unit spam. However, you've attempted to reduce the latter, so maybe there would have been a resurgence of pike spam without the focus on militia.

    If I have a concern, it's that almost all of the benefits you mentioned favor the human player, and could create a further tactical imbalance with the AI. (The counter-argument here might be that promoted militia will be even tougher to kill than pikes.)

    I also wonder why the human player would now ever build a pikeman (except for specific threats)?

    On a side note, is there any chance of getting a skin for the Militia - or do I have a surprise waiting for me?

    This seems to be part of playing at Marathon or Epic speed. My Scouts can't run around blissfully, but I definitely don't have a higher fatality rate.
     
  6. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    By the very nature of the AI, all their units are cannon fodder -- cheaper and weaker than human units. Militia add something else to the mix. I feel it does make it more fun to face up against some AI militia since nothing inherently has combat bonuses against support units (one advantage of that combat class). Militia have similar flavor values and attack scripts as pikemen, just without the mounted-counter part, so the AI handles them decently. :)

    Artwork is a low priority because it takes longer than data edits, doesn't have gameplay effects, and I sometimes end up deleting stuff after adding it.

    Still... if anyone knows of a potential Scout skin for the Militia, or is experienced enough with Civ 5 artwork to create a simple re-color skin, it'd be great to have. What's more important is they need portrait and unit flag icons... right now I'm using placeholders. I'm not very concerned about these things, however.
     
  7. atola

    atola Chieftain

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    Wow, I hope they do not get survivalizm III. If they do then they will be over powered.
    I have been experimenting with the "suport" line, and have found that far from being support, from lancers on they are they best offenise availible. For support i used a Calvery with the medic promotion!! get 5 of the lancers with survivalizm III and they are so powerful, +3 healed EVERY turn and +50 defesnse everywhere. NO seige needed. Then as anti-tank guns they get beter. defensive bonuses as well! Finaly as gunships they kill so quick and have the moves to remove themselve from any sort of effective couter attack, heal and do it all over the next turn. Absurd really.
     
  8. atola

    atola Chieftain

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    Wait, does that mean the explorer is gone? (not on your list of additions)
    NVM read the update notes, was playing a beta, glad to see you fixed some of the overpowerdness by upgrading the support to something with less moves.
     
  9. Txurce

    Txurce Chieftain

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    The militia is the current version of the explorer.
     
  10. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    @atola
    That's one reason why I changed the upgrade path to Musketmen. :)
     
  11. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Do militia upgraded to muskets keep the ignore terrain movement penalty promotion?
     
  12. zarakand

    zarakand Chieftain

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    I like this, its a good sensible change! Horse units are rarely worth building with the nerf to horseman a few patches ago and the number of pikes that the A.I. builds currently.

    Playing my first game with the patch, thanks!
     
  13. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I find this argument incomplete. If pikes are better than militia (and prevent the enemy from using mounted units against you), then why would we see fewer pikemen?
     
  14. Txurce

    Txurce Chieftain

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    They no longer have the terrain promotion at all.

    From a human perspective - the promotions. From the AI's... good question.
     
  15. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Even if upgraded from scouts?

    So, militia are just weak pikemen with some specialist promotion access and lower maintenance cost. An inexperienced militia unit can't do anything that pikemen can't do.

    That sounds a bit.... lacking in role.

    I think "access to good promotions" is a poor way to design a unit. I think promotions should give roughly similar increases in power across unit types. I don't like the idea of a unit that is weak but gets big benefits from promotions.
    It also messes up promotion balancing; if the only advantage of militia is with survivalism promotions, then why would they pick any others?
     
  16. Txurce

    Txurce Chieftain

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    I don't know if they the inherent scout terrain promotion - my guess is No. And now that you mention this, it's one good reason to build multiple scouts if you're a warmonger (they'll be cheap to upgrade, and eventually turn into all-terrain muskets and rifles).

    Thal has changed the purpose of the unit in almost all of the recent beta releases (and 7.2.4) so it's hard to comment definitively. They started as a simple upgrade link for scouts. They then became an OP 3-move support units with great defensive bonuses. From there they lost the extra move, but picked up all-terrain, and had their defensive bonuses reduced somewhat.

    This was my favorite version - not essential, but a light infantry unit that works well as cheap defense and cannon fodder. There can be enough differentiation from a pikeman here.

    The final and present version has no terrain bonus, but (I think) strong defense bonuses. This is where I wonder whether it's worth introducing a new unit (a rare occurrence) to do something that the pikeman can do - seemingly with the only upside being that it may lead to less AI pikes, and therefore more human usage of mounted units.
     
  17. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    @Ahriman

    Right out of a barracks Militia have +1 healing, a very rare and powerful ability. It's similar to extra hitpoints (though different in burst vs long term damage). Then in the next level they get +50% defensive strength, and these two combined are huge for any unit at level 3. Since AIs get experience bonuses all their militia have access to it too.

    The Scouting line is much better for city garrisons. They don't take damage often so Survivalism is mostly useless. The movement and visibility bonuses are better for intercepting barbarians.
     
  18. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I still don't think I see a need for two non-resource requiring infantry units in the same time period.

    I've lost track a bit; what are the current stats on pikemen?
    If they still have the defensive bonus, then they're already a good defensive unit, and so making the militia into a defensive unit seems poor.

    Alternatively; give pikes a penalty vs ranged units. This makes logical sense (tight formations of guys without shields are vulnerable to missile fire), and gives them a weakness, so they're not good vs everything.
    So pikes could be: strength 10, +25% on defense, +25% vs mounted units, -25% vs ranged attacks.
    That also makes a militia role as cannon fodder a bit more useful, if they're better at soaking up ranged fire.
    But I'd get rid of the idea of having a promotion line that is "superior". +50% defense is too strong for a single promotion.
     
  19. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    ?
    Extra movement sight is basically useless on a city garrison, because you can already see everywhere within your territory, and your city only has 2 range.

    How do they do this any better than pikemen?

    I see no value here. A ranged unit in a city is far more useful.
    Besides which, why would you want to "move swiftly to intercept" barbarians? Better let them come to you, and weaken them with ranged fire from your city.
     
  20. Txurce

    Txurce Chieftain

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    Scouts are excellent garrison units if you take the first Honor policy. This is how I've been using them, even before Thal created the Militia unit. The other benefits are decidedly more minor.

    I would guess that they absorb damage better than Pikemen with the healing promotion + survivalism.
     

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