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Navy balance suggestions

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by EricB, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I've been customizing the mod and attempting to address some balance issues. I thought that I'd bring up many of the naval balance issues to the general community and see what people think.

    For me, I perceive a component of the game to be out of balance if it's always or almost always a must-have or if it's on the other end of the spectrum and it's something that I never want or almost never want. In the realm of navies, here's the changes that I've made and why.

    1. Removed the city attack promotion from naval ranged units.

    It's just strange that a unit like a Galleass is better at taking down cities than a unit like a Trebuchet. Siege units should be the premiere unit for attacking cities because they have so many other weaknesses. Ranged naval units should be for attacking enemy land units, enemy ships, and for attacking enemy cities. They are kind of the jack of all trade type of unit with no huge weaknesses. They are vulnerable to escort ships like the Carrack or Destroyer, but they still have the ability to fight back, unlike a siege unit that stands no change against enemy land units. I made this change some time ago and the game is much better with it. Highly recommended.

    2. Lowered the cost of submarines.

    In WW1 and WW2 Germany used submarines because they couldn't afford to field a regular navy. Submarines are kind of a poor nation's navy. They cost more than Destroyers in the mod though, which is odd. They are weaker than a Destroyer, so there's no point in building them with such a high cost. I never built them, which set off a red flag that this needed to be changed. I lowered their cost to be less than a Destroyer.

    3. Lowered the cost of frigates.

    In the mod, frigates are almost as expensive as destroyers, yet destroyers are way more powerful. It costs next to nothing to upgrade your unit from a frigate to a destroyer and the reason is that the game looks at their costs and calculates an upgrade cost by comparing the unit costs. I lowered the cost of a frigate to be the same as the cost of a galleon.

    4. Removed Destroyers upgrading to Carriers

    I have no idea why this is in the mod. Carriers are completely different types of units from Destroyers. This seems like a bug. Destroyers should obviously upgrade to Missile Destroyers. No brainer.

    5. Modified Naval recon promotions.

    I first came across this issue because I noticed that every single time that I built a ship the first promotion ALWAYS ALWAYS went to the Naval Recon 1 promotion so that the ship could heal itself outside friendly territory. I never keep ships exclusively in friendly territory all the time so this is a no-brainer first promotion. Anything that is always done every time is out of balance and needs to be changed. How to change it took some creativity.

    First, I noticed that it was really strange that a ship heals 20 points in enemy territory, 30 points in neutral territory, 20 points in friendly territory, and 25 points in a friendly city. It should heal the most in the most friendly places and the least in the least friendly places, just like land units operate. The ideal is 25 points in a city, 20 points in friendly territory, 15 points in neutral territory, and 10 points in enemy territory. These are the exact same numbers as land units. Why should ships be any different? So, first I changed the properties of the naval recon 1 promotion to do just this.

    That change doesn't address the out of balance issue with always picking that promotion first though. Second, I added the naval recon 1 promotion as a promotion that every ship receives automatically when first built. I also removed the extra sight bonus from naval recon 1 and moved the sight bonus to the naval recon 2 promotion, which was kind of weak.

    That's probably kind of confusing because it's a lot, so here's an example:

    Say it's the classical era and you just built your first trireme. The city has a barracks, so the unit starts with 10 experience. When the unit first appears, it automatically has the Naval Recon 1 promotion. This promotion allows it the ability to heal outside friendly territory. That's ALL it does. Like I mentioned I nerfed the healing numbers in neutral and enemy territory because they were too high. Units shouldn't heal 30 in neutral territory and only 20 in friendly territory. Ships should be vulnerable to being lost and not these indestructible units. So, when you build that Trireme you can select 1 promotion. The options are Naval Recon 2, which gives +1 movement and +1 sight; Coastal Raider 1 which gives a bonus attacking cities and gold when attacking cities; or Targeting 1 which gives +15% vs ships along with +1 sight. When presented with these 3 options, there's really no easy choice. It depends on the situation and what you plan on using the ship for primarily. I've been playing with these settings recently and like how it's balanced now.


    In all, the game is more enjoyable with these changes and I wouldn't go back.
     
  2. Delekhan

    Delekhan Prince

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    I agree with all of your changes 100%. All of these issues have bothered me, since they represent such obviously unbalanced design choices and have already been mentioned several times.

    I still don't understand why the unit strength/cost and upgrade system is the way it is in CEP. It's full of problems. GEM had a great unit balance, and although I've said it before I still don't understand why we don't just use that.
     
  3. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    @delekhan Some of the changes from GEM involve scrapping the vanguard unit line as a poorly implemented concept (most of us don't use cannon fodder units). It's not the same to say we should just use GEM's unit stats. But I agree they're a much better starting point, certainly than vanilla. I think some, but not all of the army unit stats are at a decent balance finally now that the vanguard effects are gone from infantry units.

    2) and 3) are supposed to be active in the mod already, but somewhere along the line I guess haven't been introduced?

    4) I think is a bug rather than a feature. I can't think of any rationale for it either.

    1) I'm fine with, but Thal is the one you have to convince. At the very least, these bonuses should not be on the non-resource early ranged ships and appear at galleon/frigate era.

    I like the heal change idea too. I tend to agree the first promo is always healing, so we should either move it deeper in, or just give it away. (For land units, I would prefer we get rid of the "vanguard"/"soldier" distinctions for promotions, for healing and attacking benefits, and just distinguish unit roles with counter or defensive bonuses on the units we have in mind for these, but that's a whole other story. ).
     
  4. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I'm with mystikx, but I think the stats need a look as well. I think it's a problem that the naval units so totally outclass landbased units of the same era.
     
  5. Lord Oden

    Lord Oden WarLord

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    I am not sure I would want ships to start with healing ability. Not having this promotion would keep early ships close to home. Early ships did not circle entire contents as mine usually do. If possible I would have a promotion (built in for later ships) to allow slow "emergency" repair (while moving?) at sea up to only half strength, allowing the ship to limp home or to the nearest friendly port for full repair. Later promotions and modern ships could allow full repair at sea. This would neuter the default first promotion a bit, and be more realistic. Codeing this is another story...
     
  6. Delekhan

    Delekhan Prince

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    I agree with removing the vanguard units, they seemed redundant and I only really used them for their vision/movement bonuses.

    But the naval units in GEM were perfect in my view, and loads of fun. Now we have weird upgrade paths and gold-plated submarines (or one would think based on their cost).

    Also I still fail to understand why early strategic resource units like swordsmen are so insanely expensive.
     
  7. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    The upgrade paths was a newer change, that... I have no idea about or where it came from. (Even the frigate/galleon swap to me still is annoying) and the subs are supposed to be discounted in a way that destroyers were not.

    I hated the naval units in GEM. Mostly because of the subs being melee, and the ironclad's weird resource requirements. Stat wise though, they were probably fine.
     
  8. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    As stated above a couple of the points are supposed to be included and one of them definitely looks like a bug and WILL be rectified.

    About the 'Healing' promo. I tend to agree with @Lord Oden, ships early on shouldn't be able to just cruise around whole continents without worrying about repairing themselves.
    Modern ships maybe a different story. Perhaps it is possible to give this ability to ships that appear later, not biremes & triremes or even galleons.
    I would be happy if that promo came at the 3rd tier. That could signify a good captain & crew adept at keeping their ship in a working state during battle and therefore worthy to be able to have this GREAT promotion.
     
  9. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    It wouldn't be that hard to implement this. I hadn't even thought of it actually, but it's a great idea to have later ships be able to automatically heal themselves, while early ships need a promotion to do it.

    How you could do it is similar to what I already did. First, you create a promotion that gives the healing ability (and only the healing ability). Give this promotion to later era ships automatically, such as Industrial era and later ships. The dividing line could be that wooden ships don't get the promotion while metal ships do.

    The next step would be to create a later advanced promotion. I agree that it should require a few other promotions in front of it. Perhaps, the best way to do it would be to take an already existing promotion and add a healing ability to it.

    So to summarize, for an ancient ship, it does not have the ability to heal itself outside friendly territory. There's no free promotion for a Trireme. Early promotions it can earn are related to attacking cities, scouting (increased visibility and movement), and combating vs. ships. A 3rd tier promotion could be one that allows the ancient ship to be able to heal 15 points in neutral territory, 10 points in enemy territory, and an additional 10 points in friendly territory. The friendly part is to make it compatible for later ships as you'll see below. This could be a brand new created promotion or it could be an effect added on to an already existing promotion.

    Secondly, a modern era ship like a Destroyer would receive a promotion automatically. This promotion would give 15 healing in neutral territory and 10 healing in enemy territory. Additionally, it could also earn that 3rd tier promotion (same one that ancient ships can get), which would give it an additional 10 healing in enemy territory, 15 healing in neutral territory, and 10 healing in friendly territory. So, a modern era ship can heal 20 in friendly territory, 15 in neutral territory, and 10 in enemy territory. Once that modern ship has had a lot of experience from combat (or buildings like military academies), then it can gain a promotion that gives it the ability to heal 30 in friendly territory, 30 in neutral territory, and 20 in enemy territory.

    It's fairly easy to give automatic promotions to a particular class of units. That could be done for the modern ships. We could also create a 3rd tier promotion (or even 4th tier such as needing to have the targeting 3 promotion already so that it's not easily achievable). This promotion could be earned by any ship. A 4th tier promotion would require 100 experience to achieve (10 for Targeting 1, 30 to get to Targeting 2, 60 to get to Targeting 3, then 100 for the healing promotion). Only elite ancient ships could achieve it. Likewise, elite level modern ships could get it too to heal at faster rates (which are just in practice what the naval recon 1 promotion gives now). This type of system would make naval combat more interesting and fun. More challenging. Ancient ships would need to remain fairly close to home.

    I really like how this could play out and am excited to implement it in my own mod soon! It could create all sorts of interesting dynamics. For example, it would be next to impossible to use a navy to attack distant cities with wooden ships. Those ships would take damage and have no ability to repair themselves, which is more realistic. If those wooden ships are attacking a close neighboring city, then it would be feasible. They could attack the city, take some damage, then retreat back to friendly territory to repair. Then, when repaired re-engage the city. They'd have to be playing some sort of support role while land units and simultaneously attacking that city. In the modern era, the metal ships could sail around the world and attack distant civilizations. They still would take damage and have a more limited healing ability (10 in enemy territory, 15 in neutral territory). Once they get enough experience that increases to 20 and 30.
     
  10. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    @EricB

    Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head.

    Many comments are made about the powerful way early naval bombardment outclasses the siege engines of the same era. Having the necessity to retreat to friendly waters to recover from damage levels it out somewhat. You would have to amass a sizeable armada before you even consider taking on a distant city, your ships just wouldn't survive the initial onslaught. Eight ships that rotate in and out of the front-line may succeed but you would have to count on eventually taking that city to ensure they survive the counter-attack.

    I would like to see this system included in CEP.
     
  11. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I don't think that this is at all desirable. I think being unable to heal ships was a huge part of what made them so useless in vanilla Civ and early versions of VEM and GEM. It takes forever to get back to friendly territory with ships with only 3 movement, and so melee ships in particular (which take damage every time they fight) are useless for offensive wars and severely limited even for other roles.

    The way to balance ships relative to land siege units is by adjusting their stats, not by making it so that they have to spend potentially 10+ turns there and back just to be able to heal. Rotating units in and out of the frontline is something we can do on land, why shouldn't we be able to do it on sea?

    I agree it would be good if even with the outside territory promotion ships could only heal at a fairly slow rate (~15 per turn or so). But having no way to repair themselves just neuters them utterly.
     
  12. Delekhan

    Delekhan Prince

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    I've never had a problem with ships not healing. Remember, you can heal at friendly and allied city-states too! The Communitas map has island-based city-states scattered all over the place, just use one of them as a forward base/drydock stop (like in real life). I like it when an aspect of warfare makes me think ahead like this (in this case, finding ways to help project your naval power to far-off locations).

    And keep in mind, under the current promotion system if you don't take the healing promotion then you're taking the movement speed/sight/combat promotions, which make your ships swift and deadlier. It's a good trade-off I think.

    The thing to nerf, in my opinion, is the crazy city attack bonus that ranged ships get. Changing to +25% instead of +50% makes sense as a test, I hope you'll agree.
     
  13. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I've been playing with the city attack bonus for ranged ships removed for quite a while. The gameplay is better without it, just about everyone agrees on that. The reason it's still in the mod is because Thal favors very powerful navies. It's pretty much common sense that a catapult should be stronger than a bireme for attacking cities. The people creating the mod would push through this change in a heartbeat if they knew Thal would support it. If we want to fix it, we need a groundswell of support to convince him to change it.

    In the meantime, if you'd like to remove the city busting ranged ships for yourself, go to the file CEA_Promotions_End.sql. Find this code in the file:

    INSERT INTO Unit_FreePromotions (UnitType, PromotionType)
    SELECT DISTINCT Type, 'PROMOTION_CITY_ATTACK_II'
    FROM Units WHERE Class IN (
    'UNITCLASS_BIREME' ,
    'UNITCLASS_GALLEASS' ,
    'UNITCLASS_PRIVATEER' ,
    'UNITCLASS_IRONCLAD' ,
    'UNITCLASS_BATTLESHIP' ,
    'UNITCLASS_MISSILE_CRUISER'
    );

    Then put comments around it (a /* before it and a */ after it). Takes about 10 seconds. The change doesn't affect saved games, so to see the new effect you'd need to start a new game. If you'd just like to weaken it, go to the file CEA_Attributes.xml and find the City Attack 2 promotion. The City Attack variable is set to 50. Change it to whatever you'd like it to be. Personally, I just remove that from ships. Ranged ships are still powerful with it. They're kind of good at everything but not great at anything. Just a well-rounded, solid unit.
     
  14. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    @Ahriman

    What you say has some weight but that is precisely why I said you would need a huge armada before taking on a distant city. Plan ahead so as the need to run back and heal is not an issue. With enough ships and a landing force you MUST take that first city or you will be playing catch up. Once that first city is yours you are then in a position similar to that described by @Delekhan, you now have a forward base/dry dock.
    Also the ability to heal isn't gone, it is just delayed. If you think you will going on a distant sea battle wouldn't be wise to 'harden up your crews' with some fighting closer to home first, that way getting them closer to that healing promo.

    BTW, did you notice we have changed roles? I'm usually the one supporting Thal's position on things while you present the opposing thought. Now I am in the camp advocating change and you are providing the 'stay as it is' view.:eek: Who would have guessed it.:D
     
  15. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I think it should be removed completely as a free promotion, and reverted to a promotion selected through experience promotions.

    But why should this be? Why should you need to invest much more in navies to take a coastal city than you would in armies to take a land city?

    Not only must you take it, you must take it without any healing. Why is this a desirable design goal? We don't expect land units to take cities without any healing.
     
  16. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    Because naval warfare is a totally different animal to land warfare!

    See answer above. Land units are inherently different, especially early units without resource requirements. Healing is just a normal aspect of an army camp. Battle, feed, heal, repeat.
    Navies on the other hand NEED to have support with them to repair ships. Minor damage granted the actual crew could handle, but usually they would need to retire to a safe place to make major repairs.
    What about a new unit, a supply ship, that can be a support vessel and provide healing to the fleet with a promotion similar to the 'Heal adjacent units' land units can get?
     
  17. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    What about using the Great Admiral as the unit and making it actually worthwhile to keep.
    Instead of a one time heal all, we give it a slow heal over time. Perhaps even give it some advanced tactical promos to aid the fleet more. Better aerial interception or sub detection. Maybe it could make bullying CS more productive.
    As it is now the Great Admiral is next to useless.
     
  18. Delekhan

    Delekhan Prince

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    The Great Admiral idea is interesting indeed. It could provide a modest +10 heal per turn to the unit it stacks with and the ones in surrounding tiles. Giving the heal a 2-tile radius may be excessive, though.
     
  19. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    So I've implemented the changes in my own mod that were suggested above.

    Naval promotions work like this now:

    Renaissance era and earlier ships start with no free promotions. They do not have the ability to heal, but may earn it through promotions. When your ship first gains 10 XP for the first promotion, the options are....
    1 - Naval Recon - grants +1 sight and +1 movement
    2 - Targeting 1 - grants +1 sight and +15% combat vs. ships
    3 - Coastal Raider 1 - grants combat bonuses vs cities and gold from attacking cities

    That's for melee ships. Ranged ships get the first two options and a third option is Bombardment 1 which is +15% vs land units.

    When a ship has earned Bombardment 3 as a prerequisite, then it is eligible for the Naval Siege promotion, which is bonuses attacking cities and fortified units. That's for ranged units. For both melee and ranged units once they receive the Targeting 3 promotion then they are eligible to get the Naval Supply promotion. The Naval Supply promotion grants +10 healing in friendly, neutral, or enemy waters. So, a wooden ship needs a lot of experience to get to that Naval Supply promotion. Without it, it cannot heal outside of friendly territory.

    For ships starting with the Ironclad and later, they automatically receive a new promotion I created called the Modern Ship promotion. This promotion cannot be earned, but is automatically given to industrial era and later ships (non-wooden ships). This promotion grants +15 healing in neutral territory and +10 healing in enemy territory. If a modern era ship has also gained enough experience, then it can also get that Naval Supply promotion, which gives the same +10 healing as it does for ancient ships. A ship with that promotion would heal +30 in friendly territory, +25 in neutral territory, and +20 in enemy territory.
     
  20. mbbcam

    mbbcam Prince

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    EricB,

    Would you be willing to share the files you have altered? I see that in various threads you have mentioned alterations to the files -- if other people could try out the changes it might make the discussion less abstract (nothing wrong with abstract, of course!) I like some of the ideas you are putting forward.

    As for navies, I have recently played England a lot (used to be Russia all the time) and it occurs to me that changes to navies will affect some civs more than others. Which civs have you tried with the naval changes?

    Edit: does anyone know how to stop destroyers upgrading to carriers? It's plainly ridiculous.
     

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